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On this page you will find news articles that relate to the CEE Ahead project.
Date: 22 February 2010
The Polish government is working on a bill that aims to encourage Polish women to have more children by improving the availability of more affordable child care. Dubbed the “nursery bill,” the proposition introduces new forms of child care for children under the age of three. Currently day-care centres, group babysitters, and day clubrooms are illegal in Poland, but the new bill will give the government the ability to open nurseries all over the country. Employers will also be encouraged to open company nurseries with tax breaks. The Polish government has been struggling to come up with solutions to Poland’s declining birth rate for years. Although it is one of the most Catholic European countries, Poland’s birth rate is one of the lowest in the EU. According the Irena Kotowska at the Warsaw School of Economics, Polish women are hesitant to have children for fear of losing their jobs.
Date: 15 February 2010
The planned closure of 21 state-run hospitals in Bulgaria, which were deemed inefficient, has been delayed in response to growing public resistance to healthcare reforms. Protesters say that the closures would leave thousands of people in remote areas without access to hospitals. Instead, the government is now promising to increase funding to help ease budget cuts and improve efficiency and care in all of the country’s 350 hospitals. This comes in response to doctors’ demands for increased funds. The hospitals have 6-12 months to determine a budget that will meet the government’s new criteria, which will force hospitals to spend more money on treating patients than running the hospital. The national health system budget was decreased by 24% in 2010, even though Bulgaria only spends about 4% of its GDP on health care, about half of what western EU countries spend.
Date: 15 February 2010
The Polish Health Ministry is taking steps to raise the number of organ transplants in Polish hospitals. There are a significant number of organ donors in Poland, but hospitals fail to register these donors to find matches. The Health Ministry announced that it is going to dispense €450,000 to hospitals around the country to hire transplant coordinators, who are needed to link donors with recipients. The number of transplants has declined in Poland since 2006. In 2009, Poland had only 1,077 transplants and in Spain, a country with a similar population, had 4,028.
Date: 02 February 2010
The Health Ministry has said it wants to drive down the prices manufacturers charge for prescription drugs that are included in the government’s rebate list. It plans to offer additional rebates and refunds to consumers in the hopes that it will incentivize manufacturers to lower prices. Health Minister Ewa Kopacz maintains that pharmaceutical firms have created inflated drug prices for government subsidized medicines. She cites the antianginal drug ivabradine, saying that when it was taken off the government rebate list, the market price dropped by two-thirds.
Date: 01 February 2010
Bulgarian prime minister, Boyko Borisov, has announced that he is “strongly backing” his party’s health reforms in response to criticism from Sergey Stanishev, the former prime minister. Stanishev harshly criticized Borisov’s party’s proposed health reforms, claiming it will leave one-third of Bulgarians without aid. He also scolded the current government for suggesting shutting down hospitals in less populated areas. His former health minister, Evgeniy Zhelev, stated that the Borisov government’s health reforms violated major constitutional rights of Bulgarian citizens, including accessibility and quality of healthcare. Borisov defended the reform as scandalous activity is increasingly uncovered in state hospitals, including fictitious doctors, patients, etc. He also mentioned that health workers should be paid for the work they do and called for an end to “double payments.”
Date: 01 February 2010
Czech Republic’s left wing parties, the Social Democrats (CCSD) and Communists (KSCM), have joined forces to file another constitutional complaint against current healthcare fees. They are claiming that the upfront fees Czech’s have to pay to receive medical services violate their constitutional right for free healthcare. Currently Czech citizens pay 30 crowns for surgery, 60 crowns per day spent in the hospital and 90 crowns for “after-hours services”. Right-wing Civil Democratic health minister, Dana Juraskova, rebuttled, saying the Czech healthcare system would lose 5 billion crowns if the fees were cancelled. Though the CCSD and KSCM are trying to push cancellation fees through the lower house of the parliament, they do not have enough support to completely abolish healthcare fees. A more reachable goal of cancelling fees on prescription medications would lose the healthcare system 1 billion crowns, according to Juraskova.
Date: 21 January 2010
Last week the Lithuanian parliament voted 80-1 to introduce a price cap on medications, a move that aims to decrease prices from 15 to 20 percent. The new law will include prescription and over-the-counter medications, and will apply to both wholesale drug retailers and pharmacies. Though the price cap will not go into effect until April, the Health Ministry has already taken note of prices to guarantee that there are no price increases from now until 01 April.
Date: 15 January 2010
The Bulgarian government is now requiring its citizens to carry a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) when travelling to other EU countries as it will cover any medical services required outside Bulgaria. Citizens must have a EHIC by 01 April 2010, but anyone who wishes to travel abroad after 25 January 2010 must clear all insurance debt prior to leaving Bulgaria - as registering for the EHIC requires enrolment in the National Health Insurance Fund’s (NHIF) and a clean record of paying into the fund. The Health Ministry has decided that this is the best possible way to stop self-employed Bulgarians from not paying for medical insurance. The NHIF debt is growing because people tend to pay for medical assistance upfront, instead of paying the mandatory health insurance fee collected through employers.
Date: 14 January 2010
The Romanian parliament unanimously agreed last week that unemployed residents and citizens working abroad are required to contribute the standard 5.5% share to the national health insurance fund. Foreign workers living in Romania are also obligated to pay the same percentage of their income to the fund. Parliament approved an austerity state budget for 2010 that aims to bring the country’s fiscal deficit to 5.9 % of the GDP, down from last year’s goal of 7.3%.
Date: 07 January 2010
The minister of public finance, Sebastian Vladescu, has demanded that the healthcare system be restructured. Vladescu believes that 10-15% of the health system’s funds are being wasted, particularly due to an excess of hospitals in Romania. While the Romanian Parliament has approved an austerity state budget for 2010, its officials continue to look for ways to streamline the health system. http://english.hotnews.ro/stiri-top_news-6792707-finance-minister-health-reform-should-start-cutting-the-number-hospitals.htm