22 September 2020
By Elaine Murphy
Cork East TD Seán Sherlock has called on the Minister for Health to act on a previous Budget promise that he facilitated and commence higher thresholds for medical card applications for the over 70s.
The Health (General Practitioner Service and Alteration of Criteria for Eligibility) Bill 2020, enacted on 2nd August 2020, provided for an increase to the gross medical card income limits for those aged 70 and over to €550 per week for a single person and to €1,050 per week for a couple.
“The legislation underpinning the new thresholds has passed the political test in both the Dáil and Seanad,” said Deputy Sherlock.
“It is a costed measure and must be implemented. I have people contacting my office who qualify for the new thresholds but fall underneath the old criteria, meaning their applications are refused. They need to be catered for.
Responding to Deputy Sherlock, Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly said:
“Although it had been originally intended that this measure would be implemented from July this year, it was not possible to legislate for the necessary amendments to the 1970 Health Act to provide for this measure until there was a fully constituted Dáil and Seanad.”
“While the relevant section providing for the increased limits has not yet been commenced, I can assure the Deputy that the associated funding requirements and potential implementation date are being actively considered.”
Deputy Sherlock called on the Minister to stop considering and “start implementing the will of the Dáil”.