Age Action calls for review of cost-cutting plan


Age Action has called on the Government to review controversial cost-cutting proposals that would abolish the automatic entitlement to a medical card for those over 70.

The campaign group for older people said today it was concerned at reports in the media that the Government was considering the move, and called for income and health to be taken into consideration when reviewing medical card entitlement.

At present, everyone over the age of 70 can get a medical card, regardless of means, a benefit that was introduced in 2001 and one Age Action says is "highly valued".

"Not only does it mean that people on fixed incomes who are ill can receive medical care and medications, but it gives tremendous peace of mind to all older people that they will looked after if they get ill," said Eamon Timmins, spokesman for Age Action.

"While we understand that the HSE is facing major budget difficulties, we do not believe that the Government should consider removing an entitlement from a section of society which has a greater chance of needing medical services and many people within which are on a fixed - and often low - income."

The group said income and health criteria must be taken into consideration when debating who could afford to pay for essential medical services, and details of any assessment criteria should be made public prior to any decision being made.