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Hepatitis C Infected People Angry over Insurance Issue

The Dail, House of Representatives in Ireland, has been receiving incessant calls from four groups, which represent people with haemophilia//, who were infected with HIV and hepatitis C after receiving contaminated blood products, to reject a new Government bill that deals with the long standing issue of insurance.

Health Minister, Mary Harney, had announced last week the publication of a bill to establish a statutory scheme that would address the difficulties in insurance experienced by people infected with contaminated blood. In fact those affected will not be able to obtain life assurance or mortgage protection policies.

After seeing a copy of the proposed bill the Irish Haemophilia Society, Transfusion Positive, Positive Action and the Irish Kidney Association groups have called for its rejection.

According to them a new scientific definition for hepatitis C that has been contained in the bill will lead to the exclusion of a number of infected people. In addition an amendment to the 2002 Hepatitis C Compensation Tribunal Act has also brought forth criticism, which if passed, could result in restriction of entitlements of some spouses as well as partners of people with hepatitis C to claim compensation.

In defence of the bill the Department of Health insists that the proposed bill brings Ireland in par with the other jurisdictions that are also operating compensation schemes.

However the Labour Party has called for its withdrawal.

Labour health spokesperson, Liz McManus said ‘Four organisation representing those who have been infected have raised very serious questions about the Government's legislation. It would be unthinkable for the Government to proceed with this bill in the face of such opposition from those directly affected by its provisions.’


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