The head of the Jack and Jill Foundation said the new Health Minister was foolish to address plans to overhaul the medical card system before an expert panel reports on the issue.
Last week Leo Varadkar cast doubt over whether people with certain illnesses could be guaranteed a medical card under the new system.
But speaking at the MacGill summer school last night, the minister insisted any discretionary medical cards returned in recent weeks will not be removed.
Jack and Jill Foundation CEO Jonathan Irwin said the minister needs to listen to health lobby groups and wait for the expert panel to deliver its report before making statements.
"What he did was foolish - he needs to listen, he needs to wait for his expert panel, and then we'd certainly be delighted to see him," he said.
"I believe him to be a man of great integrity and great intellect. But to come out like that was a serious mistake."