Monday 24 November 2014

Leo Varadakar: 'Politicians have very little impact upon the HSE’s decisions on medical card eligibility'

Emma Jane Hade

Published 29/07/2014 | 14:31

Minister Leo Varadkar. Photo: Arthur Carron
Minister Leo Varadkar. Photo: Arthur Carron

HEALTH Minister Leo Varadkar has said that politicians have no influence in who obtains medical cards.

Speaking in Dublin earlier this morning, Minister Varadkar said that he and his elected colleagues have very little impact upon the HSE’s decisions on medical card eligibility, and that their contacts “rarely make a difference”.

He was speaking in response to a report at the weekend which said that politicians had lobbied the HSE 21,000 times in relation to medical cards.

“I think very often politicians are stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to people lobbying them, or asking them to lobby on their behalf when it comes to medicines or medical cards, you name it. 

“And, very often I think politicians feel that if they don’t go through the motions of making representations that their constituent then believes that they don’t care and that isn’t the case,” he said.

“So it is one of those areas where it is very difficult for politicians but it is absolutely the case that the HSE determines medical card eligibility on the rules, and representations from politicians rarely make a difference.”

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