Wednesday 13 December 2017

Health costs soar as Budget cuts deepen

In the past few Budgets the cost of private and semi-private bed charges in public hospitals rose by 20pc with the Government arguing it wants to bring them closer to the economic value.

This has a direct knock-on impact on the cost of private healthcare cover, as would any move to increase the levy on health premiums to compensate the VHI for having more older customers.

Prescription charges of 50c per item have also being mooted for medical card holders.

Currently, families registered for the Drugs Payment Scheme pay the first €100 a month for prescription drugs. The indications are that the threshold will rise to €125.

The public hospital A&E charge for people without medical cards is also likely to rise again. All of this will hit families with young children, who don't have a medical card, very hard.

A 5pc across-the-board cut in public sector pay would yield savings of €1bn, so the likelihood is the Government will go for a cut of this size.

The ESRI has said a 6pc cut will be needed to help balance the books.

Irish Independent

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