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Privatisation of VHI another step in the wrong direction” – Ó Caoláin

27 May, 2010 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Sinn Féin Health & Children spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has described the privatisation of VHI as another step in the wrong direction from a Government whose health policy is fundamentally flawed. He accused the Taoiseach of “gross hypocrisy” in saying that we are a society “bound together by solidarity” when he made the announcement.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

“The announcement that the VHI is to be privatised, albeit with the promise of safeguards for risk equalisation, is another step in the wrong direction. It fits in with the agenda of privatisation that dominates the fundamentally flawed health policy of the Fianna Fáil/Green government and all of its predecessors who have maintained the grossly inequitable two-tier healthcare system in this State.

“The Government says that this announcement is based on the principle of solidarity in private health insurance as well as in public health services. What about solidarity across our society in the provision of equitable healthcare for all who need it?

“Sinn Féin does not support the private health insurance model of financing the health service. We are committed to the creation of a fully public health service with equal access for all based on need alone, free at the point of delivery and funded from fair general taxation.

“The growth in the private health insurance market here has not improved access to healthcare and increasing competition in the private health insurance market will not improve the situation. The Government has poured subsidies into the private for-profit health business while allowing the public system to deteriorate.

“With gross hypocrisy the Taoiseach states that ‘we are a society bound together by solidarity’. In healthcare this Government has worked totally against social solidarity, maintaining a system where wealth can buy privileged access to exclusive healthcare in Government-subsidised private clinics, where people on average incomes feel compelled to take out expensive private health insurance because of the deterioration of the public system, with the knock-on effect that the public system is under-resourced and in a state of crisis.

“The Taoiseach’s verbiage about respecting and valuing older people will sicken our senior citizens who have seen home help hours cut, scant support for people with dementia and Alzheimers, the closure of HSE nursing homes, the cutting of carers’ payments and the removal of medical card entitlements.” ENDS

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