Advocates for patients want to see fair access to healthcare become a constitutional right.
The Irish Patients' Association (IPA) said the country's two-tier health system is becoming increasingly unfair towards public patients.
A recent announcement by the the voluntary health insurance company has raised serious concerns for patient advocates.
Cancer patients with private health insurance will be able to access certain drugs earlier in their treatment compared to public patients, who won't be given access to the same drugs if and until they reach stage four.
IPA co-founder Stephen McMahon said: "This is an exciting event to begin a long overdue conversation on equity of access to healthcare based on need as a constitutional right.
"There are so many areas on inequity of access to healthcare in Ireland and indeed Europe, so it is time for this conversation.
"In Ireland, almost half the population don’t have private health insurance and depend on the public system. They sit on a carousel sometimes like unclaimed baggage as they await their turn – this is unfair."
Liz Yates, the chief executive of the Marie Keating foundation, said public patients who receive a cancer diagnosis also have to deal with the financial stress.
"Many cancer patients don't have access to a medical card," she said. "The cancer patient cannot work, for example. They have the double-whammy of additional costs, but also no income going in."
The IPA is holding its first Patients Rights Day tomorrow, hoping to start a conversation for the right of equitable access to be written into the constitution.