Sinn Féin - On Your Side

No negotiation on risk equalisation - McDonald

23 February, 2007

Dublin Sinn Féin MEP Mary Lou McDonald has said private health insurance is not the way forward for healthcare in Ireland. Ms. McDonald said that while the closure of the risk equalisation loophole was necessary and is to be welcomed this whole episode exposes the inequities of our healthcare system and highlights the need for a fully resourced public healthcare system free at the point of delivery and on the basis of need alone regardless of the ability to pay.

Speaking today as private health insurance company Vivas called for a review of risk equalisation policy Ms. McDonald said, "Risk equalisation in the health insurance industry is an absolute must. There can be no negotiation on that. Risk equalisation is imperative to guaranteeing equality of custom to the disadvantaged and marginalised within our society.

"However, healthcare should not be viewed as a commodity for big companies to cash in on. Healthcare is a right not a privilege although that is not how this Government sees it.

"If this debate has highlighted anything it is the inequities in our healthcare system and the need for a top class, fully resourced, public healthcare system, free at the point of delivery and on the basis of need alone regardless of the ability to pay. If such a healthcare system was in place there would be no need for a private health insurance industry or the relentless drive for profits that accompanies it.

"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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