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Dublin: 13 °C Friday 20 September, 2019
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20,000 people over 70 to lose medical cards under new legislation

However Minister of State Alex White said that medical card coverage of the over 70s population stands at 97 per cent.

Junior Minister Alex White.
Junior Minister Alex White.
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

MINISTER OF STATE for Health has confirmed this evening that some 20,000 people will have their medical cards replaced with GP visit cards under new legislation passed its second stage in the Dáil tonight.

The legislation revises the eligibility criteria for medical cards for the over 70s. They will need to earn less than €600 a week to qualify for the medical card and they will receive a free GP visit card if they don’t meet this threshold. In a vote tonight in the Dáil, the legislation passed the second stage with 65 votes to 35.

“There are currently 360,000 medical cards issued to people over 70 and therefore medical card coverage of the over 70s population is approximately 97 per cent,” White said in the Dáil.

He said coverage of the under 70s is about 35 per cent and that approximately 20,000 people will have their medical cards repleced with a GP visit card.

Independent TD Denis Naughten said that a number of anomalies were not being addressed and claimed that people who are in work are being penalised “in favour of people whose sole income is social welfare and it discourages people who are on social welfare to go back into employment”.

However Alex White refuted the claim that the changes are inconsistent because the government is “not removing GP cards from anyone.”

Read: Concern for elderly health over budget cuts>

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