Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin has called on the Taoiseach to come clean on the glaring failings in Government health policy as Leo Varadkar breaks ranks and lifts the lid on major problems in the government’s reforms.
Deputy Martin commented: “Enda Kenny is clearly frustrated and uncomfortable with the new Health Minister Leo Varadkar’s attempts to distance himself from the Government’s failure to reform the health service and protect frontline services. The Taoiseach needs to come clean on why he has been misleading the public for the last four years. Every time Enda Kenny has been confronted by me in the Dáil about the crisis in the health services, from cuts in services to the funding crisis, the Taoiseach has denied there were any problems with the Government’s policies.
“Former health minister James Reilly enjoyed the full confidence of the entire Government for his handling of the health service for the last four years but it’s clear the Taoiseach is now annoyed Leo Varadkar is breaking ranks and commenting publicly about the need to put the brakes on many of the more unpopular reforms. The Taoiseach is chair of the Cabinet sub-committee on health and has stood by the failed reforms and botched budgets for the last four years in health. He needs to explain why he is slapping down Minister Varadkar instead of explaining why he has been misleading the public about the Government’s agenda.
“Minister Varadkar seems to have found himself in the Taoiseach’s bad books for highlighting the failed policy to cap health insurance tax relief. When Finance Minister Michael Noonan imposed a €1000 and €500 cap on tax relief for health insurance for adults and children respectively he targeted thousands of ordinary policies across the country. Fianna Fáil repeatedly pointed out that the Minister was wrong when he said this would only impact ‘gold plated’ health policies. This was ill-judged and served only to drive thousands more people out of the private health insurance market.
“Rather than engaging in a public spat with Minister Varadkar the Taoiseach should be explaining why he misled the public and the Dáil about the Government’s policies on Universal Health Insurance, Free GP care roll-out, medical cards and the crisis in the health budget.”