Govt accused of denying medical cards to vulnerable groups

Some of the most vulnerable groups in Irish society are being denied free health care because of the Government's failure to extend eligibility for medical cards, according to a report published today.

Some of the most vulnerable groups in Irish society are being denied free health care because of the Government's failure to extend eligibility for medical cards, according to a report published today.

The report by the Government's information agency, Comhairle, said that many people living on state supports, including pensioners under the age or 70 and couples where both partners are on Disability Allowance, were currently ineligible for medical cards.

The author of the report, Ita Mangan, called for the income limits for medical to be raised immediately in line with social welfare increases.

“The problem is that they have not been increased sufficiently in the past 20 or 30 years,” she said.

“For instance, the medical card guidelines have only gone up by 40% at a time when medical inflation has gone up by over 200%, so it’s perfectly obvious that people can’t afford medical care in those circumstances.”

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