Under the provisions of the Health Acts, medical cards are provided to persons who are, in the opinion of the Health Service Executive, unable without undue hardship to arrange GP services for themselves and their dependants. Under the legislation, medical card entitlement is not granted on the basis of a particular disease or illness. However, if an applicant’s means are above the financial thresholds as set out in the national guidelines, the HSE routinely examines for indications of medical or social circumstances which might result in undue financial hardship in arranging medical services and, exercising discretion, may grant eligibility for a medical card on this basis.
The Health Service Executive has been asked to examine the particulars of this matter and to reply to the Deputy as soon as possible. The Health Service Executive operates the General Medical Services scheme, which includes medical cards and GP visit cards, under the Health Act 1970, as amended. It has established a dedicated contact service for members of the Oireachtas specifically for queries relating to medical cards and GP visit cards, which the Deputy may wish to use for an earlier response. Contact information has issued to Oireachtas members.