Labour has to step up.

Labour’s reaction to Mary Harney’s 50c prescription charge to GMS cardholders tells us a lot about how Labour thinks about the entitlement culture. Isn’t it extraordinary that a maximum charge of €2.50 per week is regarded as an outrage by Labour? Are they really so committed to a something for nothing culture that even as modest a proposal as this, in the current climate, is resisted?

I ask because I, like the majority of Irish people, pay far more than 50c for prescriptions. Ordinary non GMS families don’t like that fact, but accept that things cost money. We also pay the taxes that subsidise the GMS prescriptions. And now Labour want those working families to pay higher taxes (someone has to pay) so that a certain class of voters don’t have to pay even 50c? Sure, Labour will say that nobody should have to pay for prescriptions, but constantly extending the idea that government services can be magically paid by someone other than you is not in the national interest. It is not unreasonable to expect those who gain the most from our social welfare system to make a very modest contribution towards it, as the majority of Irish voters already do.

If Labour are really to form a government, then Labour neeed to decide are they going to be a government of the majority, or a government of the welfare clients and the public sector first. That decision will decide whether they are to become one of the two major parties of Irish politics, or whether Labour’s recent surge in public support is just a short term event.

8 thoughts on “Labour has to step up.

  1. Just found at today that medical card holders get trips to the dentist covered for free. Included is an annual examination and emergency treatments ie: fillings (up to 2), extractions and initial Root canal treatment. Some form of min payment should be needed here to reduce abuse of the system, currently there is no natural barrier that exists for the rest of us.

    I haven’t been to the dentist in 4 years because the last visit cost me over €400 and I won’t be back unless I have an actual toothache.

    Jason how many people in Ireland have a medical card? Is there data to break it down by demographic?

  2. The entitlement society that has developed in Ireland is crazy. I mean 50c, I pay €60 to visit the doctor and at least another €20 on top of that for prescription. That’s fine by me, it’s not cheap, but either is drug development or to become a doctor.

    Labour are complaining about 50c per prescription with a max threshold on it. Get real, apart from the homeless and maybe the mentally ill who can’t afford this?

  3. It’s yet another part of government spending that she will try to maintain as long as we can, as a people, afford it. All those people who oppose all cutbacks can always go to the people with their alternative plan to close €20 billion in current spending gaps.

  4. In other words, for as long as it takes your ex-party leader to sign her name at the bottom of a Statutory Instrument.

    The Drug Payment Scheme threshold has gone from €90 to €100 and then to €120 over the last two years; now that the foot is in the door in the form of the enabling legislation, the “maximum charge of €2.50 per week” will be history before the year is out.

  5. The Bill permits the Minister to make regulations to vary either the amount of the charge per item or the aggregate monthly amount. Before doing so, the Minister will have regard to such of the following as considered appropriate: – information on the consumer price index; information on expenditure and the number of items prescribed to medical card holders; the medical needs and financial burden on persons who avail of services; the necessity to control health service expenditure.”

    More than enough get-out clauses there. Just how long do you think it’ll stay at €10 a month?

  6. Hang on there now, the most anyone will have to pay is 2.50 a week? regardless of the number of items? (Do you have a link to that?) That seems perfectly reasonable

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