Make Your Voice Heard

Last week the Government caused uproar by announcing plans to scrap the automatic entitlement to a medical card for all over-70’s. Having lulled the elderly into a false sense of security that they would be entitled to free healthcare until the end of their days, they are now trying to claw back on this commitment. There is no denying that this country is facing a serious economic downturn and that harsh cutbacks are required to sustain public finances but this callous plan to target the elderly, is despicable.

Enough has already been said about the bungled campaign to introduce a ‘means test’ for the over-70’s medical card. I have never felt so angry and frustrated by the gross incompetence shown by our Government in their handling of this issue. They are guilty of causing great fear and anguish to those most vulnerable in our society. The comments made over the weekend by our Minister for Health, Mary Harney and our Taoiseach, Brian Cowen have done nothing to allay the fears of the elderly. Now the Government is floundering around trying to find a way out of the controversy created. Our health service is no longer alone in it’s descent into chaos.

A public rally has been organised outside the Dáil at lunchtime on Wednesday to protest against this Government’s attempt to mug the elderly. If you too have been outraged by this medical card débâcle, I would urge you to show solidarity with the elderly and support this protest.

Assemble @ 1pm on Wednesday 22 October in Kildare Street, outside the Dáil.

9 Responses to Make Your Voice Heard

  1. Grannymar says:

    Time the people spoke with their feet.

    People who didn’t exercise their vote in the last election have no right to complain!

  2. Ian says:

    Steph,

    What I can’t understand is that there seemed to be limitless funds to bail out the banks, if necessary, and no compulsion for their senior executives’ pay to be capped at €500,000, but there is no money for the elderly who have their old age pension plus even a little occupational pension. There is an 81 year old of very modest means in our church losing sleep and almost in tears.

    I think the Shinners and Labour are going to pick up a lot of votes

  3. Steph says:

    Thanks Grannymar – I did exercise my vote in the last election but I didn’t get what I wanted because too many people voted the same shower back into power. If nothing else, the rumpus of the last 6 days has woken people up to the true ideology of Fianna Fáil.

    Hi! Ian – there is certainly a growing groundswell of anger towards the Government for their failure to hit the wealthy harder in the Budget. Why wasn’t the levy 3% for those in the €300,000 bracket etc? They also saw fit to put a €10 tax on everyone who leaves the country by air yet they omitted to tax the rich and famous who travel in planes of 20 seats or less 😦

    See an interesting post below written by Dr. Gerry Burke which tackles the issue of the silence from the wealthier members of our society.

    http://dublinopinion.com/2008/10/20/harney-chooses-to-bail-out-private-hospitals-while-savaging-the-elderly/

    Dr Gerry Burke, FRCOG, is a consultant obstetrician & gynaecologist in Limerick’s Regional and Maternity Hospitals. He is also a member of the Labour Party.

  4. Baino says:

    Can someone tell me, is the card means tested or not? I’m getting conflicting stories here. If you’re wealthy and can afford health care why do you need a card? All our pensioners have access to discounted Medicare and those who are not on a pension can qualify for a Seniors Commonwealth Health card for discounted prescriptions and medical services providing they earn no more than $50,000 a year for a single and $80,000 for a that’s a good living for a self funded retiree. It seems very unfair to me that those who have ‘contributed’ to the wealth of a nation for so many years should be penalised in their twilight years.

  5. Steph says:

    Hi! Baino

    The medical card is only means tested for the under 70’s. The Government brought in an automatic right to a medical card for ALL over-70’s back in 2001 as part of pre-election ploy but it was ill-thought out and cost far more than anticipated. While costly, it represented good value for money as it kept old people well rather than waiting until they’d developed more expensive health problems.

    The medical card entitles all holders to home visits from a public health nurse. These nurses carry out home visits, change dressings, give advice on incontinence wear, walking aids etc and many elderly people regardless of income, depend on this vital service in order to remain in their homes. The wealthy are no exception.

    Baino, if you read the article with the link in my comment above, you’ll find the best explanation I’ve seen on why/how the Irish government got it wrong on this one.

    “The primary issue may be medical cards but the core value at the heart of the matter is the entire concept of the universality of welfare entitlements”.

  6. I hope it will yield results …..

  7. Steph says:

    One thing’s for sure, Paddy

    The rally will yield lots of lame OAP’s by Wednesday evening!

    Fianna Fáil brought in the automatic right to a medical card for over-70’s without giving the outcome sufficient thought and now it wants to take it away again without giving it enough thought. But this protest is about much more than just the medical card. The fact is that this Government got it wrong.They could have made the savings required by hitting the wealthiest in our society instead of targeting the most vulnerable – the elderly and our children. There are many more cutbacks on the way so the protest is an welcome opportunity to make the voice of the ordinary person heard.

    You can guarantee we’ll hear a back-pedalling Government announcement tomorrow in an effort to save face! 😀

  8. That is just despicable! I hope everyone will stand up and be counted by voting with their feet!

  9. Steph says:

    Thanks! AV

    The Government came out today as predicted, with an apology to all the senior citizens of this country and with the offer of some concessions on the medical card debacle but it’s too little, too late. The rally goes ahead tomorrow with thousands of pensioners taking to the streets. It should be some spectacle.

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