Multiple ministerial briefing on health budget 2011

Posted in Blog by saraburke on December 8, 2010

If you are sad or enthusiastic enough to hear what the FOUR ministers in the Dept of Health had to say about the €727 million cut to the health budget, you can listen in here

8 Responses

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  1. Danny Murray said, on December 9, 2010 at 7:35 am

    Just listening to Drive-time there, must say I was very surprised at your reply when asked about the Budget effects on Medical Card holders by Mary Wilson.
    You appear to believe that there was nothing in the Budget which adversely effects MC holders.
    The actual truth is that this Government has introduced a change which is vicious and mean-minded.
    If I can quote from the Revenue FAQ:
    2.4 I have a medical card – do I pay Universal Social Charge on my wages?
    Persons entitled to a full medical card are not excluded from the Universal Social Charge.
    The exemption that existed for people who hold a full medical card in relation to income levy is not a feature of Universal Social Charge.

    Click to access universal-social-charge-faqs.pdf

    Persons qualify for a medical card either: by passing a stringent Means Test or,
    where income is over the financial guidelines, the HSE decides that the financial burden of medical or other exceptional circumstances would cause undue hardship.
    So these people have been examined by the HSE in regards to Income or Hardship/Medical Needs.
    This heartless Government is now going to impose, from Jan. 1st, a Taxation Rate varying from 2% (1st €193) through 4% (next €115) to 7% (for all income over €308) on those who have been assessed as being in need of a Medical Card. This has to be the meanest cut of all.
    BTW, there is already a Facebook campaign for Reinstatement of the Exemption for MC holders.
    Hopefully you will take any future opportunity to correct the impression given on this evening’s Drive-Time.


    Danny Murray

  2. Grainne Leahy said, on December 9, 2010 at 9:36 am

    I missed your slot on Drive Time today, but am a regular listener and admire the fact that you are usually on the ball. I believe you made the point today that there were no impositions on Medical Card Holders in the budget and I just wanted to point out the following to you. As I am sure you are aware MC holders were exempt from the Income and Health Levy’s and these have now been replaced with the Universal Social Charge of which MC holders who work are now expected to pay. This is a massive hit on low income earners. In effect it is anything from an extra 5 to 10 percent of take home pay taken from already stretched budgets. On top of the cuts in social welfare, child benefit and a rise in income tax, a vast amount of people are literally being left on the breadline.
    You can see details of this in point 2.4 of the following revenue link.
    I for one am sickened at this cruel attack on the poor, the sick the old and the marginalised.
    If there was anyway you could highlight this point or bring any attention to the fact that this is happening we would be extremely grateful.
    I enjoy your work Sara and hope there is something you can do for us. Details of people effected and contact can be found at
    Grainne Leahy

    • saraburke said, on December 12, 2010 at 12:43 am

      As above Grainne, thanks for the comment and will remedy this week


  3. saraburke said, on December 12, 2010 at 12:36 am

    You are absolutely correct about this and i will point it out next week.
    I knew it but just forgot live on air, many thanks for mentioning it to me
    All the best


  4. Danny Murray said, on December 12, 2010 at 1:51 am

    Hi again Sara

    Thanks indeed for your reply.

    Completely understandable, with all the details, particularly hidden details.

    I do look forward to hearing you on DT again next week.

    Hopefully you will get an opportunity to highlight this particular nasty cut.

    Indeed, just to add to what Grainne has said, it is not just those who are currently employed, but also those, such as myself,who have had to retire early due to ill-health, and are in receipt of a small Occupational Pension, but do not qualify for any State benefits or Payments.

    This was due to the fact that such Pensioners would only have contributed to a low-rate PRSI during employment. People such as retired Civil Servants and Semi-State Company employees.

    In my particular case the hit for the USC will be €22.32 per week, on a Pension of €506 gross per week.

    €193 @ 2% = €3.86:
    €115 @ 4% = €4.60:
    €198 @ 7% = €13.86:

    That is €1160 per annum on USC alone, from a Small €25k Pension, before other taxation changes are accounted for.

    Thanks again for replying and I hope to be in contact again congratulating you for highlighting this hidden and forgotten cut-back on a relatively poor cohort of low-paid employees and pensioners.



  5. Grainne Leahy said, on December 12, 2010 at 7:01 am

    Many thanks for the reply Sara, which is more than i received from any of our elected representatives to date!

    It would be great if you could raise this subject as I do think the vast amount of medical card holders are unaware of the issue and are in for a particularly nasty surprise in January.

    To expect such a low paid, marginalised group to take a hit on the standard cuts the budgets announced is very harsh. To impose this further penalty on them is unjust and unfair. I personally do not know how I am going to stretch an already tight budget to include this cut. Sara, if this is not resolved very soon i can not afford to pay my bills, House, Car, Heating / Fuel, Food, Clothes. We have already forgotten about Holidays, Christmas, Birthdays and general nice to haves for our children or ourselves. i just do not know what to cut next.

    Thanks in advance for highlighting this issue.



  6. saraburke said, on December 12, 2010 at 10:42 am

    Grainne and Danny
    Thanks again for your info, my work is only as good as the info I have and personal experiences (as well as people telling me when I have got it wrong) always helps so thank you. I spoke at a public meeting on thursday night after my radio slot and made this very point so it has not been lost on me and I will highlight it again next Thursday on air.
    All the best


  7. Danny Murray said, on December 16, 2010 at 6:03 am

    Disappointed Sara 😦

    Waited with bated breath!!

    Alas, no mention on Drivetime this evening regarding Medical Card/USC, despite your promise to highlight the issue.

    However, thanks for your comments in the IT article today.

    Perhaps the Printed Word will have more influence, it being in the Paper of Record.



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