Reilly ditches plan for public say on health insurance
HEALTH Minister Dr James Reilly's plan to consult with the public on his radical reform of the health service, through a citizens' parliament, has been ditched.
The minister's preferred list of health services for inclusion in a basic insurance package under the new scheme has also been dropped. The plans to introduce Universal Health Insurance (UHI) will go through the Oireachtas Health Committee, which will undertake a public consultation. The minister was planning to set up a new Citizens' Health Assembly, based on the Constitutional Convention model, where members of the public would have been asked to make choices on what should be included.
The assembly was to be advised by experts and make recommendations on what services should be covered.
But ministers decided yesterday to ditch this plan. Instead, a healthcare commission will decide what's to be included under UHI and the Oireachtas committee will make recommendations. The minister's outline of preferred options for inclusion in the basket of services to be included under UHI is also to be cut from the document setting out the plan. Dr Reilly had outlined a selection of basic healthcare services, including primary care, hospital care, acute care, mental care and drugs.
The Health Minister has inserted a guarantee in his radical health insurance plan that the cost will "not exceed" the spending on the existing two-tier system. Dr Reilly will also have to show that hospitals can be run and health services can be delivered at a lower cost to the taxpayer. The Taoiseach said this plan would be published in the next few weeks and Government would get the people's views through a major consultation process, heading towards full implementation in 2019.