Friday 19 December 2014

Group behind White Paper lacked experts with industry experience

Eilish O'Regan Health Correspondent

Published 26/02/2014 | 02:30

10/02/2012 Dublin City Council has agreed zonings that will allow buildings in excess of 16 stories in four Dublin city centre locations. Pictured here is Noodle and Sushi House (Left) and (Right) The Department of Health, in the zone around Tara Street rail station. Previously, locations in the city centre and within 500 metres of a DART, Metro or mainline route were limited to six stories for residential and seven storeys for office buildings. Picture: Sam Boal / Photocall Ireland
The Department of Health (right)

THE controversial White Paper on universal healthcare insurance was drawn up by a group which does not involve anyone with direct experience in the health insurance industry.

The paper, which has yet to go to Cabinet and is now being revised to include measures to control costs, sets out the broad plan to introduce a complex system where everyone is privately insured.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said the paper – which cost over €141,000 – was drawn up by the Implementation Group on Universal Health Insurance, which was set up in 2012 to oversee the development of detailed proposals for universal healthcare insurance.

It comprises a mix of senior officials in the Department of Health and the Health Service Executive as well as external expertise, including Prof Reinhard Busse and Sarah Thomson, who work on health policy in the World Health Organisation.

"In addition to the implementation group, legal research and advisory services were procured from Matheson Ormsby Prentice to undertake work in regard to the design and implementation of a universal insurance-based model in Ireland," a spokeswoman said.

COSTS

"The total cost for the legal expertise procured in 2012 and 2013 was €141,450.

"Members of the implementation group were not paid a fee for participation on this group; only minimal administration costs associated with the establishment and operation of the group were incurred," she added.

The spokeswoman said a number of people on the group had a detailed knowledge and understanding of the private health insurance industry, including the international experts Prof Reinhard Busse and Dr Sarah Thompson.

It is "complemented" by a Consultative Forum on Health Insurance, which includes representatives from the country's health insurance companies, the Health Insurance Authority and the Department of Health.

Irish Independent

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