Hoctor, Máire

Friday, 12 December 2008

Seanad Eireann Debate
Vol. 192 No. 17

First Page Previous Page Page of 6 Next Page Last Page

The Health Bill 2008 gives effect to recent Government decisions to end the automatic entitlement to a medical card, irrespective of income, for people aged 70 and over and to introduce new arrangemen...More Button

For those who turn 70 in the new year, there will be a much simplified means test compared with that applying for the standard medical card scheme, which has been designed to show that their gross inc...More Button

We volunteered a reduction as well, unlike Senator Twomey.More Button

It was not Deputy Shatter’s idea. More Button

I have listened with interest to the contributions of Senators and I thank them for their participation in the debate. As I indicated at the outset, with the enactment of the Bill, persons aged 70 an...More Button

I am reminding the Senator because there seems to be a case of amnesia in his party.More Button

It is no harm to remind the Senator. Senator O’Toole asked whether it would be fairer to give the free medical card to people over 80. I would respond by asking whether it is not fairer to allow 95% ...More Button

Perhaps the Senator will provide us with the source of that information. It is in the interests of everyone that such information is made known and I would be delighted if she would do that. I will ...More Button

It was a marvellous work of art to get the best possible figures and to provide——-More Button

——- for capital spending and developments in the Department of Health and Children and the Department of Education and Science for next year. More Button

I support the accurate information as delivered by my party colleague, Senator Geraldine Feeney, today. The wording was absolutely correct, where she said she had met one person from Sligo who said t...More Button

I am only talking about one person and the Senator stated clearly what she had to say. She was quite happy——-More Button

I have one final comment. Figures were given for the number of people who attended on the day of the protest. More Button

We were led to believe by the media that 15,000, 10,000 or 5,000 attended, but to be honest, I do not know how many attended. I was happy to represent the Government——More Button

This is very important legislation, yet there was only one person in the Visitors Gallery all morning. Go raibh maith agaibh.More Button

Health Bill 2008: Committee and Remaining Stages.

I am satisfied that section 1 should remain part of the Bill. The aforementioned decision yesterday was made by the Ceann Comhairle and not by the Department of Health and Children.More Button

I wish to clarify my reference to the one person who remained in the Visitors Gallery this morning. We all know that the Visitors Gallery is open to all members of the public.More Button

I just want to say that it was a clear indication to me that, from the day of the protest to today, which was an important day for legislation, the revised income thresholds have been duly recognised ...More Button

Amendment No. 1 refers to a new capitation rate introduced in October last. The new capitation rate, recommended by Mr. Eddie Sullivan, is not due to commence until 1 January next. Second, the matte...More Button

There will not be a difficulty in providing Senator Fitzgerald with that information, should she request it.More Button

I do not propose to accept this amendment. The matters to which it refers are not specifically related to the Bill and I do not consider that such a sweeping obligation should be imposed on the Minis...More Button

I do not propose to accept this amendment. The form of words used in the Bill to describe cohabiting couples is the standard form used in many Acts of the Oireachtas. To amend the language of the Bi...More Button

I understand that the civil union Bill will impact on a range of legislation.More Button

Senator White is correct that the legislation to which she referred makes provision for cohabiting same sex couples. However, the fair deal scheme is different in that it is concerned with the assets...More Button

Long-term residential care could impose an extreme burden on the finances of a same sex couple but that is not the case in respect of applications for medical cards. For that reason, I do not propose...More Button

We are not here to debate the fair deal legislation. The Senator is speaking about two entirely different pieces of legislation and there is no reason we cannot have differences in the approach. I w...More Button

No as it would be premature to debate the issue at this stage in light of the fair deal scheme, which is only on Second Stage. The Civil Unions Bill has not been brought in yet.More Button

I do not propose to accept this amendment. Such a provision could have implications for eligibility for health services generally and requires more detailed consideration, rather than being rushed in...More Button

A divorced person, in applying for a medical card, would be considered a single person, as opposed to separated.More Button

Separated people are not divorced so they would still be considered a couple.More Button

The Bill applies to people who are either married or single so a person in the case mentioned by the Senator would have to apply under the 1970 Act.More Button

He or she would apply for a medical card as a single person.More Button

The person would apply as a single person for assessment under the normal medical card scheme under the Health Act 1970.More Button

As I pointed out earlier, there are still options for such people to apply. They can apply under the discretionary card scheme, leaving the decision at the discretion of the general medical officer. ...More Button

Income will not be imputed from the property of the person in question for means testing purposes, unless it is rented and the rental income is included as part of his or her income. Savings or simil...More Button

The Senator has answered her own question. More Button

Yes, the Senator is correct. Once they are not divorced, they are still considered to be married.More Button

I do not propose to accept this amendment. The HSE is under a statutory obligation to satisfy itself that applicants for medical cards satisfy the criteria set down in the legislation. In doing so, ...More Button

I do not propose to accept this amendment as this provision has been drafted in the standard format, which gives the Minister regulatory powers to amend the income limits. I do not propose to depart ...More Button

To answer Senator O’Toole’s question first, that regulation just needs to be laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas.More Button

No.More Button

Senator Twomey asked me about the €700 and €1,400 figures. Those are based on the income bands of the majority, some 95%, of people over 70, given the available figures that we sourced. It was aimed...More Button

Yes. The Deputy also asked about the letter to GPs. We must wait until this legislation is passed and the Department will be then in contact with the HSE which will, in turn, make contact with GPs a...More Button

It will come into effect on 1 January.More Button

That is not the advice we have received.More Button

If a person has a capital sum in a bank, the interest on the sum will be taken into account in the assessment. A superannuation lump sum in a bank is considered a capital sum.More Button

The Senator is using the term “capital sum”, not us.More Button

The person would be assessed only on the interest of the bank deposit. I understand the Senator’s questions and I appreciate that the person in question might not have a house. For example, he or sh...More Button

He or she might need to pay rent. All of these matters would need to be taken into account in an assessment. Only the interest on what is lodged in a bank is assessed.More Button

The phrase “similar investments” was included to refer to, for example, shares. We are still discussing the interest generated from a lump sum lodged.More Button

We must recognise that this legislation provides that the Minister, following a review, can only increase rates. They cannot be reduced. The Senator referred to inflation, but protection is provided...More Button

It must be pointed out that the Minister cannot reduce the gross income limits.More Button

It is not appropriate that HIQA be involved in the administration of the medical card scheme. I will repeat what the Minister, Deputy Harney, said on this issue. She said she wanted to make the posi...More Button

I am sure Senator Twomey is aware, as am I, of many cases where once it was made known to the HSE that a patient was terminally ill, it immediately fast-tracked the issuing of a medical card for that ...More Button

I do not propose to accept this amendment. The matter referred to is of an administrative nature and does not warrant imposing an obligation on the Minister to make monthly reports to the Dáil.More Button

The figures are €700 and €1,400.More Button

My statement remains the same; I do not propose to accept the amendment.More Button

I do not propose to accept the amendment. The matter being referred to is of an administrative nature and does not warrant a report to the Oireachtas. I will not be accepting the amendment.More Button

We have no means of calculating the amount people who do not pay. Therefore, the amendment does not stand up.More Button

The Senator’s proposal would impose an unnecessary administrative burden. I do not accept the amendment.More Button

I still see no sense to the proposal.More Button

I have no more to say on it. I already stated that I will not be accepting——More Button

Yes, we can get that information directly from those sources to update our records. More Button

The Senator will appreciate that there is sometimes a time lag between the death of a person and the registration of his or her death. There are also cases, of course, where deaths are not registered...More Button

——-when there is a change of address, for example. More Button

Where the information is available to the GP, he or she is obliged to inform the HSE so that it can have its records updated. More Button

Last Updated: 06/09/2010 19:36:14 First Page Previous Page Page of 6 Next Page Last Page