Monday 22 January 2018

Third-tier medical card plan is knee-jerk nonsense and won't cure voters' anger

People who are losing their cards are upset and angry
People who are losing their cards are upset and angry
Sara Burke

Sara Burke

Taking away medical cards from people is even more politically explosive than introducing water meters or property tax. This was most evident in October 2008 when universal medical cards were taken away from better-off over 70-year-olds.

After some feisty protests the then government did a series of U-turns and the vast majority of over-70s held on to their medical cards.

There are now half-a-million more people with medical cards than in 2005. The numbers with medical cards reached a peak in September 2013, when 1,864,509 people had them. As medical cards are means tested, the steady growth in medical cards, between 2005 and 2013, was driven by increasing unemployment and declining incomes.

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