Mandatory private health insurance is still the government’s goal

Mandatory private health insurance is still the government’s goal

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So the Independent writes that Leo Varadkar has said he wants to restart James Reilly’s failed universal health insurance idea.

Well in fairness it was never James Reilly’s idea as the exact same process of privatising health insurance is being imposed simultaneously on people in other countries; the US being the most prominent. It is as if the instruction to change the system everywhere is coming from a place above national governments.

The most vocal dissent in the US is from those who have their own private insurance who say they want to choose their own terms and packages. They feel socialising health insurance is un-American. However they also have 50 million who are too poor to have insurance and are dependent on free Medicaid. So in effect they do run a dual system, but those who pay for better care feel they are now being limited in their choices.

But hang on a minute, Ireland is already a country with a socialised health service, Europe is famous for this bold social move since the end of the second world war. We already have universal health insurance do we not? We already all pay national insurance, the health levy and the universal social charge as well as a mountain of other taxation that pays for the health service. So are we getting all of that back…? No of course not, this just going to be lumped on top

Let’s get this straight, this is going to be MANDATORY private health insurance (an oxymoron), and the fee will average €1,600 per year for everyone. that’s another €32.77 every week out of what you have left to live on. I can see it now with Enda giving soundbites to sell the idea telling us “it’s only the equivalent of a pint of beer a day, what’s the big problem?”

The problem is, like with everything else this government does, we have been paying for healthcare for decades, so why do they want us to pay again? What have they been doing with all our money, and where is it all going?

Summing up, what we have is this; you pay your public health insurance anyway but you are too poor to pay for private health insurance on top. So the government’s solution is to force you to pay another €1,600 for private health insurance. However, you are still poor and cannot pay, so they will fine you more money and jail you if you fail to pay the insurance and the fines. Does that sound like a logical idea?

What Ireland needs is for the people to have a say in what type of health service they want and how they wish to fund it.

For many (not all) people it doesn’t seem ethical or logical for health care to be run as a profit driven business because the primary concern of a business is to earn dividends for its shareholders. Those people consider that the private profit would be better spent in improved service, and that profit does not coalesce with the ideals of “care” and “service”.

In defence of that point of view we have already seen the results of the profit motive in the pharmaceutical industry with pharma companies becoming highly successful in “persuading” medical professionals to prescribe larger and larger quantities of their products, at the expense of advice on natural preventative methods for good health. So much so that we have doubled the amount of drugs being ingested by our population in a very short space of time, and without any checks and balances as to the medical necessity or the side effects on the long term health of the populations.

Others however may feel that people should only get what they pay for regarding health care, and that point of view has become more prevalent in the last 2 decades of increased private health insurance in Ireland, though historically this would be a new mindset.

Either way there are certain resources within the health service that are to some extent finite, like specialists, doctors and nurses and access to them needs to be fairly managed if we aspire to a health system that does not discriminate and serves the people based on medical need.

How we get there and what system is best suited to achieve this is something that is not being debated… and it absolutely should be. Imagine what we could come up with using the genius of the Irish people.

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