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Rodney Crowell, Vince Gill

Above And Beyond

Budget 2023: Free GP Care To Be Extended To Over 400,000 People

Stock image: Pexels

Six and seven year olds to gain access to free GP care by the end of this year.

Half of the population are to have access to a free GP visit card or medical card, under the Budget 2023 announcements.

An expanded free contraception scheme and and a state funded IVF programme has also be included for 2023.

430,000 GP visit cards have been announced, as part of the biggest expansion to the scheme in decades, with six and seven year olds to gain access by the end of this year.

It will mean about half of the population will have access to their doctor free of charge - either through these cards or the medical card.

Hospital in patient charges will also be removed for all public patients.

Meanwhile, the free contraception scheme is to be expanded to cover the medicine of women up to the age of 30, and IVF treatment will be state funded for the first time ever.

VAT on defibrillators has also be dropped to zero as part of Budget 2023.

Fianna Fáil TD for Kildare North, James Lawless, has welcomed a major increase in access to free GP care for many people as part of a significant step towards Universal Healthcare in Budget 2023.

Deputy Lawless commented: “This is a significant measure in helping more people access free GP care. Up to now many people have had to pay for GP access.

"As part of this budget approximately 430,000 people will be eligible for the card with all those up to the median income - which is on average €46,000 - being eligible.

“At a time when families are under enormous cost of living pressures, Fianna Fáil in Government is focusing on delivering societal benefits and where public expenditure can replace the private costs currently being faced by individuals.  

“This move will provide free GP access to at least half of all Irish households," he added.

The National Women’s Council (NWC) has welcomed many positives in Budget 2023, including structural investment in childcare to reduce childcare costs, women’s health and the cost of education.

Investments in essential public services help to reduce costs and are essential for resilient and sustainable societies.   

NWC also welcomed the once off payments which will support women and families through this cost of living crisis.

However, the NWC are concerned that an over reliance on once off payments will not protect women from poverty and income inequality in the long term.  

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