Kenny defends reduction in tax relief for health insurance

Taoiseach was responding to claims that 1.2 million people will be affected by changes


Taoiseach Enda Kenny has insisted the budget’s reduction in tax relieve for private health insurance is part of an overall reform of the health service.

Mr Kenny said the objective of Minister for Health Dr James Reilly was to bring about a single-tier service in which acccess was based on need and not on ability to pay.

“The Government is committed to the ongoing sustainability of the health insurance market as part of the transition towards the market-based universal health insurance scheme,’’ he added.

The Taoiseach was replying in the Dáil today to Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, who said the removal of the tax credits would impact on people with basic levels of health insurance.

“Contrary to what Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said, about 1.2 million people will be affected by this decision,’’ he added. “Indeed, the VHI has confirmed that only 10 of their 93 policies will not be affected.’’

He added that Insurance Ireland had said the minimum additional cost would be €100 for basic policyholders and up to €360 per family.

“Essentially, this will result in more families with children, and particularly older people, who will have to bear a heavy burden now relating to private health insurance and will lead to more people leaving,’’ he added.