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Government policy causes health funding chaos – Ó Caoláin

20 July, 2007


Commenting in the proposed rise in average VHI charges by 8.5%, Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said the Government's policy was causing "health funding chaos". He called on the Government to establish a Health Funding Commission to plan the transition to a fairer and more efficient system.

Speaking today Deputy Ó Caoláin said, "If approved by the Government, these latest rises in VHI fees will come as a further excessive burden on the many people on relatively low incomes who have taken out personal health insurance because the state of our public health services has driven them to 'go private'.

"Such a rise in VHI charges will fuel inflation generally. It highlights the fact that fatally flawed Government healthcare policy causes health funding chaos. Approximately 70% of the population pays for their healthcare twice - once through taxes and again through personal health insurance or direct user fees for GP services, medicines and hospital care. Meanwhile the proportion of the population with medical cards is declining.

"This complex and inefficient funding system has been used by successive Governments to underpin the grossly inequitable two-tier public-private system. The system of health apartheid is being reinforced by the Government's private for-profit hospital co-location scheme.

"Rather than granting this latest VHI request for a major rise in fees, the Government should immediately establish a Health Funding Commission to plan the transition to a fairer and more efficient system. Taxation based on ability to pay and top quality healthcare based on need alone and delivered to all equally, regardless of income, is the only fair way forward." ENDS

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