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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Tuesday, 19.02.2019, 15:11

Latvian health minister stands by promise of health care financing at 4% of GDP

BC, Riga, 11.07.2018.Print version
There are no grounds for concern that the Latvian government will not keep its promise about increasing health care financing to 4% of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2020, Health Minister Anda Caksa told LETA.

She said the government had made this promise very clear and the Health Care Financing Law also provides for the health care budget at 4% of GDP in 2020.

Answering the question about the difference between the amounts of health care financing in Latvia's new Stability Program and the previous Stability Program, the minister said that any calculations based on GDP were complicated because the figures differed depending on the methodology.

For this reason Caksa suggested that the health care budget should be expressed as a percentage of total public expenditure and then it would be 12-14%. She said this approach should be used in the future as it was more reliable than a percentage of GDP because the economic growth happened to suddenly pick up the speed or, on the contrary, to slow down.

As reported, the Latvian Trade Union of Health and Social Care Employees (LVSADA) has complained that Latvia's Stability Program for 2018-2021 contained "misleading information" and the health care budget would not be increased to 4% of GDP.

The trade union has found major discrepancies in the new Stability Program. Thus the program's chapter on healthcare reforms states that additional budget funds of EUR 208.3 mln would be allotted this year for implementation of measures covered by the Public Health Guidelines to increase healthcare budget to 3.6% of GDP in 2018. According to the document, the amount of additional financing is projected at EUR 244.8 mln next year and at EUR 245.1 mln in 2020.

The LVSADA made own calculations and concluded that the health care budget will be at 3.1% of GDP in 2020, not at4 % as stated in the government's strategies.

The trade union has sent a letter to the prime minister, warning that lower financing as provided for in the new Stability Program might threaten public health and urging the government to take immediate action to prevent the threat.


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