Tuesday 28 February 2017

GPs must fight back against auction politics - for their sake and for ours

David Quinn

David Quinn

Minister Kathleen Lynch and Minister Leo Varadkar, pictured with under six year old children Isabella Heapes age 3 and Kiya O’Connor age 4 from Macken Street, Dublin at the launch of the online registration system for the new Free GP Care for Children Under 6 service
Minister Kathleen Lynch and Minister Leo Varadkar, pictured with under six year old children Isabella Heapes age 3 and Kiya O’Connor age 4 from Macken Street, Dublin at the launch of the online registration system for the new Free GP Care for Children Under 6 service

Free GP care for children under six is one of those things that seems like a good idea until you look a little closer. Everyone likes the idea of something for free. But of course it's not free, is it? It will have to be paid for out of the public purse. So that's the first thing that's wrong with it. It's not what it says it is.

Everything that has to be paid for out of the public purse means something else doesn't get paid for. That's simply the way these things work. Choices have to be made. Money spent on this scheme means less money spent on care for the elderly or those suffering from mental health problems. These groups are much more likely to need medical care than a three or four-year-old.

Ireland is still very heavily in debt. A big proportion of the money the State raises in tax has to go each year towards meeting the interest payments on our national debt, never mind paying off the loan itself.

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