Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Questions (122, 551)

Timmy Dooley

Question:

122. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Health the date on which he will be publishing the White Paper on universal health insurance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14854/14]

View answer

Micheál Martin

Question:

551. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Health the position regarding the commitment in the programme for Government on universal health insurance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11534/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 122 and 551 together.

The Government has embarked on a major reform programme for the health system, the aim of which is to deliver a single-tier health service, supported by universal health insurance (UHI), where there is fair access to services based on need, not on ability to pay. Under UHI, everyone will have a choice of health insurer and access to a standard package of health services. In addition, a system of financial protection will ensure affordability by paying or subsidising UHI premiums for those who qualify.

The White Paper on Universal Health Insurance, currently at an advanced stage of drafting, will provide more detail on the UHI model for Ireland, the process for determining the future health basket, including the standard package of services covered under UHI, funding mechanisms and the key stages of the journey to UHI. Following an initial discussion on the White Paper in early March, the issue will return to Government in the near future with a view to publication thereafter. This will be followed by consultation on the general approach set out in the White Paper and a separate consultation on the future health basket.

My intention is to have all the necessary groundwork in place in early 2016 to enable us to phase in implementation of UHI between 2016 and 2019.