Fianna Fáil will move a Dáil motion tonight demanding an end to the Government’s covert cull of discretionary medical cards, as over 1,100 cards are now being removed from patients every month this year.
Spokesperson on Health Billy Kelleher has described the relentless campaign by Government against people with serious illnesses as “crude and extremely regressive.”
Deputy Kelleher commented: “The very nature of discretionary medical cards is that they are issued to patients based on the seriousness of their illnesses and not on their income levels. But Minister Reilly is now deliberately engaged in a cull of thousands of medical cards in a desperate bid to make savings in his budget, while all the time denying that it is taking place. His mismanagement of the health budget continues to cause extra pressure on frontline services for patients.
“The number of discretionary medical cards fell from 80,524 at the start of 2011 to 54,984 and is now dropping by over 1,100 every month for the first seven months of the year. Discretionary medical cards are essential for those with serious illnesses and cutting these cards is causing major financial hardship for families across the country.
“The government continues to deny that there is a campaign to reduce the numbers on discretionary medical cards and insist that there has been no change. This is completely untrue and disingenuous. The dishonesty and the rhetoric which the Minister and the Taoiseach hide behind every time this issue is raised, are actually making matters worse.
“We are calling on the Government to ensure no-one in medical need is denied access to these cards. Fine Gael and Labour TDs need to stand up to Minister Reilly and demand honesty and transparency in the health service.”