Fianna Fáil Health Spokesperson Billy Kelleher TD has called for clarity on whether the Finance Minister has finally acknowledged his error in Budget 2014, when he imposed a €1000 / €500 cap on tax relief for health insurance contributions.
Deputy Kelleher’s comments came following media briefings from Minister Leo Varadkar that he was looking to remove the cap in an attempt to stabilise the market.
He commented, “While avoiding spelling out the detail of any of his plans, Leo Varadkar has been busy briefing media behind the scenes about the work he is doing. The latest spin is that he may be considering an easing of Michael Noonan’s ill-judged and counter-productive decision.
“Fianna Fáil argued strongly at the time that this was the wrong decision and would have precisely the effect it has had, with people abandoning health insurance in their droves. But our concerns were dismissed and the Finance Minister insisted that this would only impact on those who had ‘gold plated’ policies.
“I welcome the fact that Leo Varadkar now realises his party colleague was wrong and that those of us who sought to challenge him were correct. However, in the absence of an acknowledgement of the error from Michael Noonan, this latest spin is nothing more than political posturing by Minister Varadkar.
“In order that we might be able to have an informed debate about the issue, we need to know whether Michael Noonan has actually acknowledged the mistake and is prepared to reverse it.”