Irish Medical Organisation

IMO raises serious concerns over Government proposals for Universal Health Insurance

Wednesday 4th June 2014. The Irish Medical Organisation has raised serious concerns over the Government’s proposals for a system of Universal Health Insurance. The organisation has made a detailed submission to the Government in response to the recent White Paper on the issue. Details of the submission were published today by the IMO.

Speaking on the issue the President of the IMO, Professor Trevor Duffy said that the Government was misleading the public by describing their proposed insurance model as a type of Universal Health Care; “the Government is being disingenuous by confusing the terms Universal Heath Insurance and Universal Health Care. The Government’s proposals are simply a reform of the financing of health care not a commitment to a more equitable system of health care. ”

Professor Duffy said that it appeared that the Government’s plan would lead to additional payments by many people to cover services that are currently financed through the taxation system while many people who are currently paying for private health insurance would have to continue to pay but would lose access to the benefits they currently enjoy.

Professor Duffy said that the IMO had serious reservations about the Government’s proposals to deliver on:
• Affordability
• Equity of Access
• Choice
• Timely Access to Care
• Quality of Care and Value for Money.

Professor Duffy said that international experience on insurance models for health care was “very mixed” and deserved careful analysis.

Professor Duffy called on the Government to broaden the debate beyond the financing model to a debate about what type of healthcare system we aspired towards. He said; “the IMO strongly supports a system of Universal Health Care. However there is more than one way to finance such a system and all models have their pros and cons. In particular we believe the debate should be broadened to assess the respective merits of financing the system under an expanded taxation model or, eventually, under a system of social health insurance.”


NOTE: The IMO has published an extensive position paper on Universal Healthcare (2010). The organisations Principles of Universal Health Care are:

  • Access to Adequate health care for all
  • Services that are free at the point of access
  • Equity of access Solidarity
  • Transparency Quality of care and value for money
  • Choice and Mobility
  • Clinical Autonomy
  • Efficiency Affordability
  • Sustainability

Full IMO submission click here

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