Seanad debates

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Commencement Matters

Universal Health Insurance

2:30 pm

Photo of Paul BradfordPaul Bradford (Renua Ireland) | Oireachtas source

I thank the Minister for his reply. The five points on which he is trying to make progress are a significant part of his contribution this afternoon and I wish him well on advancing those necessary improvements. We could end up being fixated on the concept of what we frame as universal health care and universal health insurance to fund it. In Britain, for example, there is what is supposed to be universal health care, also known as the NHS. It is probably not working as well as it did 20 or 30 years ago. The majority of citizens in this country, by way of the GMS medical card-public health care system, had a degree of universal health care. Tags, titles and framework names about our health service is not really where we must go. We must go into the provision of those five priorities identified by the Minister and others. We must concentrate on them. My question concerned universal health insurance, notwithstanding the view that I and many other people share that it may well be financially unaffordable.

When will the Minister get the next range of reports on the matter? Will he then be in a position to indicate whether an entirely new funding model is required? We cannot keep kicking the can down the road. The citizen is demanding a health service. How we frame it or the title we give it are not particularly important. When does the Minister expect the next range of apparent funding mechanisms to be brought forward? It would be better if we could concede the old concept is simply not going to happen and move onto new ideas and approaches.


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