The 2011 proposal for Universal Health Insurance in Ireland: Potential implications for healthcare expenditure

July 4, 2016 | Journal Article

Authors: Sheelah Connolly , Maev-Ann Wren
Health Policy , Vol. 120, 2016 , pp. 790-796

The Irish healthcare system has long been criticised for a number of perceived weaknesses,
including access to healthcare based on ability-to-pay rather than need. Consequently, in
2011, a newly elected government committed to the development of a universal, singletier
system based on need and financed through Universal Health Insurance (UHI). This
article draws on the national and international evidence to identify the potential impact
of the proposed model on healthcare expenditure in Ireland. Despite a pledge that health
spending under UHI would be no greater than in the current predominantly tax-funded
model, the available evidence is suggestive that the proposed model involving competing
insurers would increase healthcare expenditure, in part due to an increase in administrative
costs and profits. As a result the proposed model of UHI appears to be no longer on the
political agenda. Although the Government has been criticised for abandoning its model of
UHI, it has done so based on national and international evidence about the relatively high
additional costs associated with this particular model.

© 2015 The Economic and Social Research Institute. All rights reserved. Website by JET Design