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"BUPA pull-out exposes contradictions of two-tier system" -- Ó Caoláin

14 December, 2006

The decision by BUPA to pull out of the Irish health insurance market is another symptom of the contradictions in our two-tier health system, according to Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin. He stated:

"The decision by BUPA to pull out of the Irish health insurance market comes as no surprise given that company's vehement opposition to risk equalisation. Private health insurers, like the rest of the private health industry, will inevitably cherry-pick the most profitable customers in what to them is a market to sell a product rather than a society with health needs.

"The BUPA pull-out exposes once again the contradictions of our two-tier healthcare system. The reality under the two-tier system is that many people are paying twice for healthcare -- once through tax and PRSI and again through expensive private health insurance. At the same time those who cannot afford private health insurance but do not qualify for the medical card have to pay user fees. And even by the Government's own admission there is no equity between those availing of private healthcare and those dependent on the public system.

"BUPA's decision will cause inconvenience to thousands of subscribers as well as job losses. It is important to see it also in the context of a deeply flawed health funding system which needs to be fundamentally reformed."

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