Over 70 medical card crisis: Call to action

TO: Each Organisation affiliated to the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament

Dear Colleague,

This is a very difficult time for Older People in Ireland. Since Budget Day the issue of the withdrawal of the Medical Card for Older People has dominated the airwaves and, indeed, the Parliament has been inundated with ‘phone calls and emails from Older People and their families on the matter. We are actively campaigning to seek the withdrawal by Government of this draconian measure which will have such an adverse affect on the lives of Older People and their families.

Each and every one of your organisations can play a vital role in seeking to retain the Medical Card for Older People by lobbying all your local representatives especially those from the Government Parties i.e. Fianna Fáil, the Green Party, the Progressive Democrats and the Independents who support the government. Make your opposition known to the opposition as well. Ask all of them to work to have the decision reversed by the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Health and Children and the Government.

The Older People of Ireland did not create the situation whereby the delivery of Medical Card services for Older People costs four times more at €640.00 per person. Older People must be relieved of the fear and stress caused by this proposal. The facts and figures which have emerged are truly staggering. Older People for a long time have been classed as high rollers and people on vast incomes who were in possession of a Medical Card. We have seen that this has not been the case and that the majority of Older People are on very low incomes as shown by the fact that ⅔ of them already had a Medical Card before they reached age 70.

You, the members, are critical to the success of this campaign. You must go to your local representatives and ask them to have this measure withdrawn. This issue is so vital for Older People. We must not be seen as ‘easy targets’.

In the period since the over 70s Medical Card has been in place there was ample time to negotiate proper arrangements with regard to its delivery. It seems strange that rather than tackling that issue the Government is now tackling the recipients most of whom are ringing our offices in fear and dread.

Get out there! Get working! Get talking to your local politicians and demand that this be withdrawn.

Yours sincerely,

Máiréad Hayes
Chief Executive Officer