Government stop discretionary medical card review

The Government is drawing a halt to the controversial review of discretionary medical cards that has seen children with Down syndrome asked to verify that they are still sick.

It has been suspended while the HSE carries out a review of policy aimed at issuing cards on the basis of condition and not income.

The decision was made by the Cabinet's sub-committee on health this morning.

Full statement from the Department of Health:

The Government is very aware of the public concern in relation to the issue of medical cards. The Cabinet Committee on Health met this morning and decided to develop the policy framework governing eligibility in a manner that will also take account of medical conditions.

The HSE will establish an expert panel to examine the range of conditions that should be brought into consideration. This process will include the development of a new legislative framework as necessary.

In light of this decision, the HSE Director General will now suspend reviews of medical cards where discretion had been exercised to take account of medical circumstances.

The Department of Health has also been mandated to develop a policy paper on the further rollout of GP care free at the point of access in the context of the move to Universal Health Insurance.

The Minister for Health will present a Memorandum to Government setting out the next steps.

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