Dublin South West representative Seán Crowe TD has said that Minister Howlin and Minister Reilly’s spat over Universal Health Insurance is not progressing the issue and has called for the immediate publication of the White Paper on Universal Health Insurance.

Deputy Seán Crowe said:

“A war of words between Minister’s Reilly and Howlin has broken out in the media over the White Paper on Universal Health Insurance.

“We have the extraordinary sight of one Government Minister accusing another of putting forward a plan that would supposedly pose a risk to the State’s financial stability.

“This is supposed to be a cornerstone of Government policy and the White Paper was promised early in the lifetime of this Government. The last promised publication date of the Universal Social Insurance White Paper was supposedly in 2013 but we have still not seen it.

“The contents of the White Paper have now been extensively leaked to sections of the media while Oireachtas members and those who are paying the charge are left in the dark.

“It is clear even to most naïve of Government supporters that our health services are in crisis and plans for their future need to be fully and openly debated – not the subject of a spat between rival Ministers in Government.

“The warped Fine Gael-Labour Party concept of Universal Health Insurance based on competing private insurance companies is one that Sinn Féin and many others have criticised as fundamentally flawed.

“The White Paper on Universal Health Insurance needs to be published immediately so everyone can judge for themselves and begin to have a real debate focused on the needs of all health service users.

“Minister Howlin’s own officials have warned that the Health Minister’s plan could pose a risk to the financial stability of the State.