Free GP care for over-70s.
Isn't that a wonderful idea?
Isn't Ireland such a wonderful place that anyone under 6 and over 70 now has full access to a GP for free?
No it fucking isn't!
It is a fucking crap idea and I will tell you why.
First and foremost IT IS NOT FREE. It will cost up to €20 million a year, and where is that money coming from? Yes, you guessed it – out of our taxes.
As always, the devil is in the detail –
There are around 400,000 over-70s in Ireland.
The new measures will apply to those aged 70 or over who do not currently hold a medical or GP visit card. The government is estimating that this currently amounts to around 40,000 individuals.
So how does this work? How come there are 400,000 over-70s, yet only 40,000 are to be included in the scheme? What about the other 360,000? The answer is so simple. Those 360,000 are already getting free GP care because they are on low income. Therefore by very simple deduction, the 40,000 who are being included can well afford to pay for themselves.
Once again, the lowest paid in the country are being forced to pay taxes to subsidise the rich.
This country has an enormous blind-spot when it comes to the idea of means testing. I am all for susidising those on low income who genuinely can't afford medical costs. I think it's fine to pay out child support [or mickey money as we call it] to those who are struggling. But it pisses me off royally when I see the well to do getting "free" handouts from the tax that the poorest have to pay. You can be earning a couple of million a year here and still get a state handout for every child you have.
Even worse, Varadkar is wiffling on about free medical care for everyone. Utter insanity. If it costs €20 million to provide GP care for 40,000 then presumably it would cost in the region of €2 billion a year just to give everyone GP care and that doesn't include the cost of hospitals, specialist care or medication. That €2 billion would lust be another hole in the healthcare budget for a system that is barely at third world standards. Wouldn't you know there is an election coming up?
In reality, the headline should read –