Varadkar pledges to reinstate PRSI benefits

Fine Gael promises to restore dental benefits as part of re-election manifesto

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Health Minister Leo Varadkar have pledged to reinstate dental benefits for PRSI holders if they are re-elected as part of a €2 billion healthcare plan.

Fine Gael’s manifesto has listed restoring dental benefits as one of its main priorities if returned to government after next week’s general election.

Speaking at the launch, Varadkar said: “The plan allocates €2 billion extra to health over the lifetime of the next government. It sets realistic targets for incremental improvements in our public health service, investing in new infrastructure, technology and hiring 4,400 new frontline staff, taking at least one big step every year towards Universal Healthcare, and formally setting up Hospital Trusts and Community Healthcare Trusts.

“In the last five years we showed that even in tough times, real progress could be made in key areas. We intend to build on that over the next five years.

“Economic recovery isn’t only more jobs and more money in our pockets, it’s also about better public services and we have a plan to do that in health.”

Fine Gael’s manifesto pledges that a new dental benefits package will “reimburse the cost of some routine dental treatments” as well as introducing and dental health package for children under the age of six, including “dental health advice for those under 18 months, dental wellness checks and appropriate treatment between three and six years”.

Medical card holders would also benefit from a preventive dental health package that would provide “examination, cancer screening, scaling and polishing, any necessary preventive treatment, radiographs and prescription”.

Varadkar also revealed that, if re-elected, his party would push for a tax on sugar sweetened drinks, introduce further measures to reduce smoking and invest at least a further €750 million in primary care.