WE ARE still no nearer to finding out how much the promised introduction of universal healthcare will cost – although the promise is that it will start rolling out for hospital care from 2016.
A document produced by the Department of Health yesterday amounted to a progress report on the background work being done, examining how it would work here.
But it will be much later this year before we get a glimpse of the long-promised White Paper.
This will give a clearer idea of the kind of policy preferences which the Government hopes to pursue for its implementation.
Hospitals will be funded differently next year under a "money follows the patient model" as an an important transition step.
But it's still a long way to providing health insurance for the entire population, either free, subsidised or personally paid for.
The extension of free GP care, based on illness, which is also a component of universal healthcare, is already delayed.
It was promised for people in the long-term illness scheme around this time last year – but they are still waiting.
Health Minister James Reilly said yesterday the legislation had proved complex and should be published by the end of this Dail term.
However, it is also still not known how much it will cost to provide this for the entire population.