Dáil Éireann - Volume 630 - 31 January, 2007
Written Answers. - Medical Cards.
Mr. Durkan Mr. Durkan
 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Health and Children when a family medical card will be reviewed in the case of persons (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2326/07]
Ms Harney Ms Harney
Ms Harney: Medical cards are made available to persons and their dependants who would otherwise experience undue hardship in meeting the cost of General Practitioner (GP) services. In 2005 the GP visit card was introduced as a graduated benefit so that people on lower incomes, particularly parents of young children, who do not qualify for a medical card would not be deterred on cost grounds from visiting their GP.
Since the beginning of 2005 substantial changes have been made to the way in which people’s eligibility for a medical card is assessed and these apply equally to the assessment process for a GP visit card. The income guidelines have been increased by a cumulative 29% and in addition allowance is now made for reasonable expenses incurred in respect of mortgage/rent, childcare and travel to work costs. In June 2006 I agreed with the Health Service Executive a further adjustment to the assessment guidelines for GP visit cards and these are now 50% higher than those in respect of medical cards.
As the Health Service Executive has the operational and funding responsibility for these benefits, it is the appropriate body to consider the particular case raised by the Deputy. My Department has therefore requested the Parliamentary Affairs Division of the Executive to arrange to address this matter and to have a reply issued directly to the Deputy.
Dáil Éireann 630 Written Answers. Medical Cards.