45% VHI hikes show madness of for-profit health system

Minister Harney’s mission was to open up the private healthcare market to competition because of future benefits to ‘consumers’ she promised.

Minister Harney’s mission was to open up the private healthcare market to competition because of future benefits to ‘consumers’ she promised.

The announcement of VHI of increases averaging 15% but as high as 45% for their older customers is as graphic an illustration as we can get that for-profit healthcare is a disaster. It is a disaster made even worse by having competing private firms whose ‘success’ rides on building up a client base dominated by relatively young and healthy people from whom they can extract more money and give less in return by way of healthcare and conversely excluding or victimising with exorbitant fees the elderly and sick as well as those with pre-existing ailments.

VHI estimate that they will lose 5,000 older ‘customers’ who they obviously see as a burden. That is 5,000 people who paid into their schemes possibly for up to 50 years who will be forced onto inferior plans.

Is it not a perversity that those with the greatest need of care are treated this way? Is it not self evident having three for-profit health insurance firms represents a colossal waste of resources? Think of what could be saved in administration, marketing, advertising, sponsoring sports stadiums as well as the obscene salaries like VHI’s chief executive Jimmy Tolan who receives €412,000 if we instead had a single tier universal public healthcare system funded by progressive taxation and free at the point of use.

But what is Fine Gael and Labour’s response? To bring even more companies into the market and force everybody to take out private health insurance with the help of state funding! In other words the taxpayer further subsiding the profits of the privateers. Deputy O’Reilly of Fine Gael proudly talks of the negotiations Fine Gael are having with an ‘international big player’ who they want to bring into the market. What makes him think that bigger firms will treat people any better than VHI, Quinn and Aviva?

The Socialist Party and the United Left Alliance will campaign vigorously for a proper public healthcare system and sustain a campaign beyond the election against the Fine Gael/Labour policy.

Previous Article

Labour and Sinn Féin should not be taken seriously as representing a real left alternative

Next Article

Scandal as taxpayer to hand over €7 million to developer for a school site

Related Posts
Read More

What you can do

EU Protest Poster FINAL   Fonts Across Europe, the bosses and right-wing governments are trying to make ordinary people pay the price for their crisis. Workers and young people need to link up the many struggles taking place into co-ordinated, united action against attacks on our wages, conditions and futures. The 21-26 June will see a Europe-Wide week of Protest and Solidarity against the bosses’ onslaught with protests, pickets and public meetings being organised in Spain, Portugal, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Britain, Greece, Denmark, Cyprus, Italy & Sweden.

Read More

Come to the national assemblies from Donegal to Kerry: Build a mass campaign

One hundred people attended a meeting on the Household Tax in Galway, 700 in Donegal, over 80 in limerick. And all these before the government’s legislation was passed and the issue came centre stage in the media. Already in January, 120 attended a meeting in Gorey, Wexford. 400 met to discuss the Septic Tank Tax and the Household Tax in County Limerick. 90 people protested outside Galway City Council in early January.