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Prime Minister’s work group discusses options to assist with healthcare funding

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RULatvian Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis’ health work group intends to offer the ruling coalition one of two options for securing funding for healthcare – tying social insurance with minimal social fees and raising VAT by one percentage point in parallel or by introducing mandatory health insurance with fixed or differentiated monthly payment.

After the work group’s meeting, Kucinskis informed journalists that four proposals were discussed at the 1 June meeting. Although the final decision was not made in the end, the work group decided to offer two proposals to be reviewed by the coalition – the idea submitted by the Bank of Latvia to introduce fixed or differentiated payments for health insurance or Kucinskis’ proposal to tie mandatory social insurance to minimal social payments and raising VAT by one percentage point – to 22% – in parallel.

Kucinskis said his offer would secure 75% of healthcare services, including services like family physician visits and treatment of serious diseases, from the service basket to residents who pay social fees.

The prime minister’s offer states that this would secure approximately EUR 80 million in additional finances for healthcare. «Additional finances will make sure residents will no longer have to waste time waiting in long queues,» said the prime minister.

He refrained from predicting if this proposal receives support in the coalition. «Waiting time is over. We will have to make the decision at the end of last week,» said Kucinskis.

Ilmars Rimsevics, governor of the Bank of Latvia, said after the meeting that introducing mandatory health insurance model would increase the range of healthcare services available to Latvian residents.

He explained that the bank’s offer provides mandatory payments to all residents at about EUR 20. Still, it is possible this amount may be differentiated based on a person’s income level. For those who cannot afford policies municipality or the state will provide support.

«The model proposed by the Bank of Latvia does not provide for raising taxes. In addition, insurance policies would be free for children, students and pensioners. Employed people would pay differentiated fees. According to our estimates, the state budget would gain EUR 250 million, which could be used to pay doctors, nurses and reduce queues,» says the governor of the Bank of Latvia.

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