Government approved VHI increase will place additional burden on low income families - Ó Caoláin
Responding to Minister for Health Mary Harney’s decision to approve the VHI proposal to increase charges by 8.5 per cent this year for 1.5 million members Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin today said the Government's policy is causing health funding chaos.
Sinn Féin Dáil leader Deputy Ó Caolain said:
“This latest development in the provision of healthcare evidences the urgent need for Government to establish a Health Funding Commission to plan the transition to a fairer and more efficient system.
"An increase in 8.5% in VHI fees is an additional 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'. This rise in private insurance costs could also 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.
"Government must 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." CRÍOCH