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Opinion: Latvia at risk of restricting healthcare to 300,000 people

Daniels Pavļuts/flickr.com/Frank-Jurgen Richter.
Kustība Par! political party has sent a letter to Latvia’s President Raimonds Vējonis, asking him to return to the Saeima the recently approved law on healthcare funding legislative draft. According to the party, the law restricts healthcare for 300,000 people in Latvia.

Daniels Pavļuts, leader of the party, mentioned in the letter to Vējonis that denying healthcare to hundreds of thousands of people to combat tax avoidance is wrong, unfair and ineffective.

The party believes the law on healthcare restriction contradicts the principle of equality detailed in the Constitution, as well as the country’s duty to protect its people’s health and European directives.

Pavļuts asks the president to listen to opinions voiced by health and human rights experts in regards to certain risks and contradicting ideas in the new law. «The biggest risk is many people in Latvia may end up excluded from regular healthcare. Many of those people will not have any opportunities to protect their health because of the lack of money,» explains the party.

At the same time, Kustība Par! party supports the commitment detailed in the law’s first two sections in favour of raising the level of public financing of healthcare by diverting part of state social insurance budget’s fees and securing funding for healthcare at 4% of GDP in 2020.

«Nevertheless, this commitment does not justify the risks the new law creates for poor and less protected group of society. Nor does it justify making healthcare system as just another tax collection tool,» Pavļuts explained in the letter.

On Thursday, 14 December, the Saeima approved the Healthcare Financing Law in the final reading. This law provides for changing healthcare financing system and introducing state mandatory health insurance.

70 members of the parliament voted in favour of this law and 16 members voted against.

State social medical assistance minimum, which will be provided to all residents regardless of their social contributions, includes emergency medical assistance, obstetric services, family doctor services and medicine required for medical treatment and compensated from the state budget.

To receive a full basket of medical services, which includes the rest of the state-funded services, residents will have to apply for state mandatory health insurance.

The state will provide insurance to certain groups of residents, including children, orphans, registered unemployed people, organ donors, people who suffered as a result of Chernobyl catastrophe, pensioners, politically repressed people and members of national resistance movements.

Social insurance fees for people who are not automatically insured will be 1% of their monthly wage next year, 3% in 2019 and 5% in 2020.


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