Saeima goes ahead on new public healthcare bill

On November 30 the Latvian parliament passed the new healthcare bill in the second, non-final reading. The bill proposes that people paying social security taxes will have full access to public healthcare. 

It was supported by 74 MPs while 16 voted against. It still has to be passed in the third, final reading.

The bill proposes that everyone will have access to basic healthcare like emergency services, giving birth, visiting the GP, and to some drugs and healthcare devices, as well as to the treatment of diseases with social ramifications, like tuberculosis and mental illnesses. 

Cabinet rules are to specify which services will be available to everyone and which ones only to people who pay the social tax - i.e., people who are currently in work.

Meanwhile people who are not socially insured will have to pay health insurance contributions to receive state-sponsored healthcare. It is expected that these will be €51.6 a year in 2018 (€4.3 a month, or 1% of the monthly minimum wage), €154.8 (3%) in 2019 and €258 (5%) in 2020. 

Many social groups, like children, students, retired people and others are, under the current bill, to receive full public healthcare regardless of their social security contributions.

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