I rise to ask the Tánaiste a question on universal health insurance, UHI, because I cannot get proper information from the Government.
It is a central plank of Government policy that was outlined by the two governing parties in the programme for Government after the 2011 election. We are no further on in terms of seeing any detail on universal health insurance. One should bear in mind it is an essential plank of how we are to fund the health service in the years ahead. We have had reports from the Minister, Deputy Varadkar, stating he is considering alternative options. The ESRI, the Health Insurance Authority and KPMG are all involved in this scoping exercise but we have been scoping for five years now. The Minister is a bit like David Attenborough commentating on a herd of elephants wandering the savanna. There is almost nothing substantial in terms of policy coming from him. Every week, we hear a different view from the Minister on this issue. There was a clear commitment in the programme for Government on how we would fund our health services. We were told it would make our health services more equitable and that people would be able to gain access to health care based on need rather than their ability to pay. Despite this, the Minister consistently gives us mixed messages. The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform has undermined the policy and said it is unworkable. The Minister for Finance has had a go at it.
With regard to the current position, could the Tánaiste give me an honest answer? This is critical in the twilight of this Dáil as we face an election. The people should certainly know what they will be voting on regarding how we are to fund health care in the years ahead. I have got no honest answer to date from the other side of the House on this central issue. I have heard about universal health care, primary care and other forms of care but I have not heard about a proper, tangible outcome in respect of our position on universal health insurance.