Speaking in the Dáil this week on the Health (Alteration of Criteria of Eligibility) Bill 2013, Deputy Michael Lowry strongly objected to the changes to medical card eligibility for those over 70. The Independent T.D. for Tipperary lambasted the Government for this cruel and callous cut which scapegoats pensioners.
Deputy Lowry stated;“As a direct result of this decision by the Government 1 in 10 pensioners will lose their medical cards. To put this into context, over 35,000 pensioners across the country will now face life with no medical card. It is anticipated that over 2000 medical card holders in Tipperary could lose out.”
“This is a cruel, unfair and mean spirited cut that has led to a wave of anxiety and will have a devastating effect on the peace of mind of older people.”
“Medical cards are cherished by the elderly in society. A medical card serves as a reassurance, a safety net, and an insurance going forward. It affords some comfort to know that if they have a serious medical issue or if their health deteriorates in the future they will be able to avail of necessary medical care and medication irrespective of their financial circumstances.”
“It is grossly illogical to strip means tested medical cards from the sector of society with the highest health and care needs.”
“Furthermore a medical card is a necessary requirement for any elderly person that requires aids and appliances from the HSE. This policy change will result in the costs of the aids and appliances being foisted back on the older person. The medical card is a prerequisite to being given a walking stick, walking frame, wheelchair or even a hearing aid.”
“This is a disgraceful political act which must be deplored and condemned. We must stand up for the elderly in our community who have earned the right to be treated with dignity and respect. Our pensioners and elderly should be entitled to a reasonable standard of living and protection from savage cuts.”