People Before Profit TD Gino Kenny has written to the Health Committee to ask if they would consider including a review into medical card eligibility for the committee’s work programme.
The TD is seeking a review of medical card eligibility and a review of the recommendations from a 2014 report, Report of the Expert Panel on Medical Need for Medical Card Eligibility to see if they have been implemented, and to see where improvements are needed.
Gino Kenny TD said: “My office regularly has constituents coming in with long-term illnesses who are struggling to get the services or medicines they need. There are people coming into me whose lives have changed due to a cancer diagnosis who are concerned that they may find themselves out of work due to the need for treatment. Many of these people are faced with a financial burden they cannot afford.
It is going on 10 years since the HSE has looked at medical card eligibility on medical grounds and how effectively the system of assessment for a discretionary medical card is working.
It is crucial we review the recommendations from 2014 and see if those recommendations have been implemented and if they are working and are fit for purpose in 2023.
The medical card system means testing on income has not changed for many years, except for changes to over 70s cards or free GP care for under 6s. However, the list of expenses considered in means testing for a medical card is limited – it does not reflect many cost of living expenses and the real net income of a household.
In circumstances where persons have a medical condition, we need to be sure that patients are not facing undue hardship and that those who need a medical card are receiving one.”