Kariņš: Latvia has too few taxpayers to support current healthcare system

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Latvia's healthcare system is not viable right now, as there are too few taxpayers supporting too large a system, said Latvia's PM Krišjānis Kariņš (New Unity) appearing on LTV February 20.

As Latvia moves closer to adopting its 2019 budget, there's talk over tax changes so that more taxpayers contribute to healthcare. 

Incoming Health Minister Ilze Viņķele (Development/For!) has decided to scrap the so-called "two-basket" system – a botched scheme by the previous government that would have had only contributors (not all taxpayers are contributors) receive a full range of medical services – in favor of a singular approach where every taxpayer is eligible.

Finance Minister Jānis Reirs earlier said that only 600,000 out of Latvia's million taxpayers contribute to the healthcare system, and therefore there should be changes in taxation regimes. 

Kariņš pointed out to LTV that the system is very complicated and that even extra money might not be enough to effect substantial changes. 

"This year we'll funnel a further €87 million into the system. Sadly, it won't solve that much. Hopefully, the medics will feel that they're being paid more, but in essence the system won't become better," he said. 

"We've too few taxpayers supporting an outsize [healthcare] system. And this is the thing that should be changed," said Kariņš. 

As reported, Latvia's healthcare budget surpassed €1 billion last year

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