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Wednesday 27 August 2014

Howlin 'confident' of UHI roll out

But plan may not be set in stone

Niall O'Connor

Published 03/03/2014 | 13:05

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Brendan Howlin,TD the Minister for Public expenditure at  the  news conference held in  the Department of Finance following the final  review  of the bailout by the  Troika  yesterday.Pic Tom Burke 7/11/13
Brendan Howlin

PUBLIC Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin has said he is "very confident" that the Department of Health has the capacity to roll out Universal Health Insurance (UHI).

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However, Mr Howlin appeared to indicate that the plan to introduce UHI in 2019 is not set in stone.

Mr Howlin was asked about his discussions with Health Minister James Reilly about the proposals following reports about tensions between both departments.

He said his department as well as officials from the Department of Finance had "lots of questions" about the plan at a cabinet sub committee last week.

But he added that everybody is "on the same team" in relation to delivering the policy.

"These things will evolve over time, it's not a settled issue, in terms of the scale of roll out, the timing of rollout, the funding of it, because you're fundamentally altering the health delivering model for acute care," he said.

"At the same time we want to ensure that the current level continues to function. It's not as if you can shut down the existing model," he added.

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