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Written Answers. - Medical Cards.

Wednesday, 6 February 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 547 No. 4

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 143. Mr. Timmins Information on Billy Timmins Zoom on Billy Timmins  asked the Minister for Health and Children Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin  the position in regard to having sufferers of asthma allocated medical cards regardless of income; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3816/02]

Minister for Health and Children (Mr. Martin): Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin People who cannot without undue hardship arrange for the provision of medical services for themselves and their dependants may be entitled to a medical card. Eligibility for a medical card is solely a matter for the chief executive officer of the relevant health board to decide. In determining eligibility, the chief executive officer has regard to the applicant's financial circumstances. Health boards use income guidelines to assist in determining eligibility.

However, where a person's income exceeds the guidelines, a medical card may be awarded if the chief executive officer considers that the person's medical needs or other circumstances would justify this. Medical cards may also be issued to individual family members on this basis. There are no plans to extend medical card eligibility automatically to include persons with asthma at this time.

Non-medical card holders and people with conditions not covered under the long-term illness scheme can use the drugs payment scheme. Under this scheme, no individual or family unit pays more than €53.33 per calendar month towards the cost of approved prescribed medicines.

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