The report is published by TASC, the Think-tank for Action on Social Change, and FEPS, the Foundation for European Progressive Studies. It also concluded that Ireland’s ‘two-tiered’ health system sets us apart from our peer Western EU countries.
At 81.5 years, Ireland’s life expectancy is one of the highest in the EU. The Report also shows that people in Ireland have the best self-reported health in the EU.
However, relative to other Western European countries, there is a high level of disparity between high and low-income groups of 21.5 per cent.
“The study confirms that Ireland remains unique in the EU as the only Western European country not to have universal health coverage of primary care,” according to TASC.
“This is despite government commitments made since 2011 and reiterated as a core vision of Sláintecare in 2016.”
The report also finds that out-of-pocket payments often stop people seeking preventative and necessary healthcare which can often result in more serious conditions and more expense at a later point.
“The old saying health is wealth seems to ring particularly true for Ireland,” said Ms Shana Cohen, the new Director of TASC. “What this report makes very clear is that people with private health insurance in Ireland have a much better chance of getting the health services they need, and getting them quickly. So, where you are in the job market would seem to have a significant impact on your wellbeing and health outcomes.
“We need to introduce universal health insurance as a matter of urgency, as a targeted and appropriate response to the health challenges being experienced by people in the “twilight zone” particularly – those who are above the threshold for the medical card but who do not have private health insurance,” she continued.