If Fine Gael is returned to Government it will introduce a universal health insurance system within three years. It would entitle everyone to free GP and hospital care, as well as free medication.
Fine Gael has proposed what it calls a radical programme of reform.
Waiting lists would be cut using a model developed in Northern Ireland and a system whereby hospitals would be remunerated on the basis of how many patients they treat introduced. The party says that when these changes are in place a universal insurance scheme would be implemented.
Those currently with medical cards would be better off, as would those with private medical insurance who would then get free GP care. 16% of the population with no medical card or no private insurance would have to pay but that contribution would be heavily subsidised.
Fine Gael is considering following the Netherlands and making private health insurance compulsory for all.
International health insurance: News update: 28/04/2009