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These are the 5 big problems doctors have with ReillyCare

The UHI model is based on a Dutch scheme, with even the government conceding it is an ambitious plan.

Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire

THE IRISH MEDICAL Organisation’s annual conference continued today in Kildare, where doctors raised their “serious concerns” about the government’s Universal Health Insurance plans.

Minister James Reilly published his White Paper on the matter earlier this month, stating plans to introduce the system within years.

The model is based on a Dutch scheme and would see every Irish citizen insured with a choice of health insurer. Insurance for those who cannot afford it would be subsidised by the State.

The IMO believes there are three main problems, however, with the plan.

1. Rising Costs

The IMO says:

The Dutch model is now one of the most expensive health systems in the OECD. Health expenditure in the Netherlands ranks second in terms of percentage of GDP and fourth in terms of per capita spending.

2. Reduced Services

“A scaling back of services covered in the basic basket of health services provided under the Dutch model – with a real risk that the initial basket of services offered under the Irish model might also be reduced over time.”

3 Fewer insurance providers

“A reduction in the number of providers providing Private Health Insurance in the Netherlands despite that country having a population of 16 million – four times the Irish number.”

4. Planning time

The IMO pointed to the 30 years of planning that went into the Dutch system. It says it is “highly questionable whether the Irish economy had the capacity to adopt such a model and, particularly whether the underfunded Irish health service was capable of this type of transformation in its funding model”.

5. Confused

The President of the IMO, Professor Trevor Duffy said it was important that the debate did not confuse the concept of Universal Health Insurance with Universal Health Care.

“UHI is a funding model for healthcare; it is not a guaranteed of the quality of that care.”

Professor Duffy added that the principles of Universal Health should not be based around the funding model but around equitable and timely access to all necessary healthcare.

Duffy concluded that that the IMO believed that the goals of the Government can be achieved through an expanded taxation model or through a system of social health insurance.

Under Reilly’s ambitious plan, everyone in Ireland will have health insurance, with state subsidies for many.

Source: MerrionStreetNews/YouTube

A public consultation on the paper is ongoing, with the closing date for submissions not due until 28 May.

Read: How much will Universal Health Insurance cost you?

Minister: ‘A decision to see a doctor should never be a financial dilemma’

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