Tánaiste Burton Asked To Explain 'U-Turn' On Mandatory Health Insurance

Fianna Fáil has called on Tánaiste Joan Burton to explain her apparent u-turn on Labour's mandatory health insurance plan.

The party's health spokesperson Billy Kelleher claims that Tánaiste Burton made the comments in a low key speech at a Labour Party event last Thursday, following a media briefing from Leo Varadkar to The Irish Times on Wednesday where he effectively buried the policy.

Deputy Kelleher said, "Even by the discredited standards of the Labour Party, this u-turn from Minister Burton is spectacular in its cynicism. Clearly panicked by the prospect of being out-manoeuvred by Fine Gael and left as the last person standing defending the policy, she has simply binned the funding model that has been a staple of her party since 2001 and quietly walked away in the hope that no one would notice.

"Over the course of the last five years, Joan Burton and her colleagues happily cheered on the sidelines as James Reilly and then Leo Varadkar told us that mandatory health insurance was the future and that plans were on track. When the obvious problems with the plan could no longer be ignored, Leo Varadkar sought to quietly bury the funding model in a series of 'reviews'.

"And when the penny finally dropped within the Labour Party that they were being left exposed by their Government colleagues, the Tánaiste tried to follow his lead and hoped a few throwaway lines in a low key speech to a Labour Party event would pass for an explanation of such a fundamental policy u-turn. It doesn’t, and the Tánaiste needs to be honest with the Irish public. Has she, like her Fine Gael colleagues finally recognised that the Fianna Fáil analysis of this issue is correct and that they have to start again?"


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