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Hospital bed charges will risk disaster

HEALTH insurers claim that Government proposals to charge their customers for public beds in public hospitals will lead to a 30pc hike in premiums.

This claim will cause serious worry for many families who are struggling to keep with the ever-increasing cost of private healthcare.

Health Minister James Reilly has accused insurers of scaremongering.

Whichever side is right, it is very likely that a public bed charge would lead to some increase in premiums and, as a result, people quitting their private health policies. If this occurs the public health system, perpetually at breaking point, will come under unsustainable added pressure.

It is therefore hard to see the logic of the Government's reasoning.

Furthermore the majority of those with private health cover also pay PRSI and entitled to free in-public hospitals services. The waiting lists for these services are bulging, however. It is hard to see how this Government plan will make this anything but worse.