A bitter pill
Published 14/12/2011 | 05:00
• The budgetary plan to allow the HSE to charge health insurance companies increased rates for the use of "designated" private beds within the public hospitals is one thing, but to allow the HSE to chase insurance companies for payment for the use of "non-designated" beds, essentially beds on public wards, is quite another. Incredible as it seems, it is tantamount to discrimination against those patients who choose to pay voluntary health insurance on the one hand, and those who don't, or can't, on the other.
The message is that if you pay health insurance, you are not entitled to access public services as a public patient, despite the fact that your taxes are paying for it.
This is a cynical, lazy and ill-thought out blunt revenue-generating tool. It also acts as an incentive for the HSE to prioritise who gets beds on public wards, as they can now bill for "private" care, despite none being provided.