Wednesday 24 May 2017

John Crown: Putting reform on the long finger will only cost us more

Reilly's first 10 months in office have not delivered the radical change he promised, writes John Crown

It is hard to imagine a more daunting set of political challenges for a novice minister than those facing Minister for Health Dr James Reilly when he bravely assumed office 10 months ago.

With his ministerial seal, Dr Reilly inherited a mediocre health system that was crying out for reform and investment, unluckily, at a time when our Republic was mired in a financial crisis so grave that it necessitated ongoing, widespread, deep cuts in public services. We had, moreover, lost our financial independence, and major government decisions which involve spending public money must first pass Chancellor Merkel's famous "will it cost German hairdressers anything?" test.

To compound this, there are concerns about the dominant private insurance company, the VHI, an organisation whose survival is critical to determining the function of both private and public health care in Ireland.

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