HEALTH Minister James Reilly hit back at critics of his plans to introduce universal health insurance during his St Patrick's Day visit to the US.
Speaking to reporters in Cleveland, on the second leg of his visit, Mr Reilly lashed out at those who accused him of "not being a politician".
The minister has faced resistance to his proposed reform of the health system from cabinet colleagues who believe there is not enough money in the State's coffers to fund the move.
He said: "I'm often accused of not being a politician. I'm a doctor, so be it. I've come in here to do something I really believe in and looked at what was done in this country here and in other countries."
He added: "I'm always reminded you can always find five reasons not to do something or you can strive to find a way to achieve it."
Brendan Howlin's Department of Public Expenditure and Reform has argued that Mr Reilly's proposals are unachievable and will end up costing the average policy holder around €1,600 a year.