Fianna Fáil Health Spokesperson Billy Kelleher has criticised the 40% increase in the levy on health insurance policies, describing it as a direct attack on those already struggling meet their financial commitments.
Deputy Kelleher said: ‘This is an extraordinary increase and I believe it will result in higher health insurance premiums for the public. It is difficult to see how insurers will be able to absorb an increase on this scale in the longer term. Ultimately these costs will be borne by customers.
‘The cost of private health insurance has already gone beyond the reach of thousands of people who have fallen out of the market and now rely entirely on the public health system. Before he was Minister for Health James Reilly would be the first person to criticise an increase on this scale to the levy on insurance policies. In fact on January 18th 2011 Deputy Reilly described the levy he has just increased as an “injustice”.
‘Minister Reilly is driving forward with health insurance reforms that will take 10 years to implement while at the same time doing nothing to address the costs for families today. The result being that more people will become dependent on the public hospital system and people will wait longer for treatment.
‘Far from making health insurance universal the Government is actually pursuing a policy that is making health insurance available only to those who can afford the spiralling costs.’