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Health insurance debacle exposes need for radical reform of health funding – Ferris

22 February, 2007

Sinn Féin TD Martin Ferris has said the rushing through of emergency legislation in the Dáil to shut down risk equalisation loopholes has exposed the "inequitable and inefficient way in which our health services are funded".

Speaking on the Health Bill in the Dáil today, Sinn Féin TD Martin Ferris said, "The rushing through of emergency legislation, while necessary to retain risk equalisation, has exposed the inequitable and inefficient way in which our health services are funded. This Government has downgraded the public health system and as a result people are being forced to take out private health insurance which means they are paying on the double through PAYE/PRSI and insurance payments. There is a fear that they will not get the care they need in time within the public system. This Government's privatisation of health services, including the scandalous private hospital co-location plan, is undermining the public system.

"This debacle exposes the need for radical reform of health funding. Sinn Féin proposes the immediate establishment of a Health Funding Commission to report within a reasonable timeframe on the projected costs of the transition to an all-Ireland system of universal provision, taking into account all spending on health services under the current systems, including state funding and spending on private insurance, and make recommendations on how the state can best harness these resources in the interests of more equitable and efficient delivery." ENDS

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