Expand the entitlement to medical card cover to families and low paid workers – Deputy Brian Stanley.
By Joe Barrett
THE Laois/Offaly Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley has called for the introduction of a European style medical cover system.
He said: “Despite the fact that we put more money per head of population into health services than any other European country, we still have a dysfunctional two-tier system.
Sinn Féin has a plan to move healthcare away from a system based on what is in one’s bank balance or pocket towards a European national NHS-style system where all citizens are guaranteed a world-class service.”
“Sinn Féin is committed to two free GP visits per year for everyone who does not have a medical card and a full medical card entitlement for those who have cancer, and free GP care to all citizens over a term in Government.
“A major problem remains for all those who are working and do not qualify for a medical card. There are over one million people in Ireland who have no health cover – They do not qualify for a medical card and they do not have private health insurance because they cannot afford it.
“If you are a couple with two children under the age of 16 you can’t get a medical card with an income over €342 a week. An incredibly low threshold. A single person living alone loses the medical card if he or she has an income in excess of €184 per week. This is ludicrous. What is worse, is that these thresholds have not been raised since 2006.”
The Portlaoise based TD said: “You have parents who are choosing not to go to a GP because their child has a flu and they can’t afford to go. This is despite the fact that we spend €4,706 per head of population on healthcare, one third more than the average across the 35 OECD countries. This is far more than other EU states that are free at the point of delivery.
“We have tolerated the long waiting lists and two-tier system for too long. Now is the time to create a proper all Ireland NHS system. In the meantime, let’s expand the entitlement to medical card cover to families and low paid workers.”