Socialist Party condemns privatisation of VHI

Published Categorized as Uncategorized
Press Statement from Joe Higgins MEP (Socialist Party)

*Proposed Privatisation of VHI:  Throwing the Old and the Sick to the
Wolves in the Financial Markets

*Will Finish Up as Discredited as Privatisation of Telecom and Team Aer Lingus

*Resources should be deployed towards a universal public health care system

“The announcement yesterday by Minister Harney and the Taoiseach that
VHI will be privatised over the next two years is a further
installment in this government’s destruction of the very idea of a
public Health Service. It is callously throwing hundreds of thousands
of people, especially the old and the sick, to the mercy of the wolves
in the insurance and finance markets of the world, for whom private
corporate profit is the first consideration.

“It does really beggar belief that the government is planning another
instalment of a neo-liberal agenda which is utterly discredited as the
economic crisis rages worldwide as a result of these policies.  It is
particularly sickening that the proposal is to put Irish patients at
the mercy of the insurance and financial markets whose reckless
gambling caused the disaster of toxic debt around the world.

“Minister Harney, by underfunding the public health system has done
everything she can to force people into taking out private health
insurance. But the recent trend has been of people pulling out of
private insurance in the context of job losses and other hardships.

“The case for a unified comprehensive public health care system funded
by progressive taxation and free at the point of use, eliminating
wasteful competition, advertising and a multiplicity of competing
administrations has never been stronger.

“I support the defence of the 900 jobs in VHI and would propose that
workers in the private insurance sector be integrated into the public
health care system rather than further adding to the swollen dole


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