Varadkar delays universal health insurance plans

The Minister for Health is delaying the introduction of the universal health insurance scheme.

It is currently supposed to be in place by 2019, but Leo Varadkar has now decided that date is too ambitious.

The cost of a standard package had been estimated at nearly €1,700, but the state was expected to subsidise that for some people, or even cover the whole cost in other cases.

Writing in today's Irish Independent, Varadkar insisted that "99% of the time things go right" and outlined his priorities for the next 18 months.

"Personally, I think we need to get Universal GP and Primary Care right and show people that it works before trying to bring Universal Health Insurance into the hospital system," Varadkar wrote.

"That's why I think the original timetable to have Universal Health Insurance in place by 2019 is too ambitious."

He also said that plans to dismantle the HSE will wait until the new hospital groups are up and running, outlined the patient ID scheme, and said more had to be done to reduce the cost of medication.

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