Back in 2000 when Charlie McCreevy announced the plans for the extension of the medical card in Budget 2001 to all over 70s irrespective of income he was introducing it as the next step of a process by which the government had doubled the income threshold necessary to get the medical if you were over 70. The question we have to ask now is why didn't he stick with that idea, extending coverage in a progressive indeed aggressive manner but all the while based on income and ability to pay.
Charile Dec 6 2000 - Medical Cards for Older People In my 1999 budget, I announced that the income limits for medical cards for people aged 70 years or over would be doubled over three years, commencing in 1999. That process will be completed next March, and it is now proposed to take the next step. I am pleased to announce that, from 1 July 2001, entitlement to the medical card is being extended to all those aged 70 years or over.
What was wrong with simply progressively extending the threshold for the card and the benefits associated with it year by year? Oh I forget we were due a general election and McCreevy reckoned the older members of our society could be bought off. And if you look at the raw polling data he was dead right. Later today, I'm going to try and extrapolate why we might be now in terms of thresholds if McCreevy has stuck to his guns.