Pensioners angry over medical card fiasco
THE 2008 BUDGET was always likely to stir up plenty of controversy but prior last week, not many people were predicting the prospect of thousands of pensioners losing their medical cards.
The loss of a full medical card would have left people liable for GP fees, A&E charges, overnight public hospital bed charges and medicine bills.
Since the announcement of the cutbacks, the government has been forced into a humiliating change, saying that people currently on medical cards will retain them and from next year anyone over 70 ‘ earning’ less than ¤36,500 a year will still be entitled to one.
Peggy O’Sullivan of the Wicklow Active Retirement Association, said there was complete outrage over the whole thing.
‘People weren’t happy and were absolutely furious. There are a few members on social welfare so it won’t affect them but plenty of other people will be caught out,’ says Peggy.
It still isn’t clear how ‘All I know is that there was a great deal of shock in the aftermath of the budget.’
Under the changes announced yesterday, people aged over 70 whose (gross) weekly income is ¤700 (¤36,500 pa) or ¤1,400 (¤73,000 pa) for a couple will continue to have a full medical card. And savings will not count towards the threshold, only income from savings.
A hike in A&E costs will hit non-medical card holders or those without a GP’s letter badly.