As of tomorrow, everybody with a medical card will be charged 50 cent for each prescription filled. The levy is designed to collect €25 million annually.
For many people it will not amount to much out of their income but the HSE is insisting pharmacies collect the levy from homeless people, residents of nursing homes and disability centres, from psychiatric patients, and from the terminally ill in palliative care.
When the levy was first announced in last year’s budget, children in care and people on methadone programmes were excluded. A spokesman for the Patients Associations has called for others to be exempted.
It seems incredibly cruel that homeless and terminally ill people would be denied medication if they cannot pay. Members of the Government have exhibited enormous extravagance in dealing with their own pay, expenses and pensions, as well as great generosity in dealing with some public employees. They have been pledging billions to save the greedy bankers and speculators, yet they are prepared to screw a pittance from the homeless and terminally ill.
This exhibits a depraved sense of priorities.
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