DOCTOR'S FEE SHOWS MERCY TO PENSIONERS
Starting from July 1, people in retirement age will only pay BGN1 (compared to the current BGN2.20) when they visit their general practitioner. The decision was made by the parliamentary Health Commission after wild debates during the second reading of the amendments to the Health Insurance Act on March 20. The doctors will be compensated for the difference through the state budget in a way determined by the Minister of Finance.
The proposal was presented by the BSP MPs Todor Koumchev and Donka Mihaylova but faced sharp critics from their colleagues in the National Movement Simeon II (NMSII). Along with the Movement for Rights and Freedom (MRF), the NMSII group is considering removing the consumer fee for all citizens, but from 2009. That is why they said the relief for pensioners, if supported in plenary hall, would stir up useless chaos in the system.
The problem is that public funds are expected to only compensate general practitioners while nothing is said about the specialists in polyclinics and hospitals. Whether the money will be launched by the Ministry of Health or the National Healthcare Insurance Fund is still to be decided, too. The bill authors claim that if the fee is reduced in the middle of the year, the state will have to pay an additional amount of BGN10MN. And this will only be possible if its 2008 budget is updated. That is why the plenary hall is likely to postpone the partial abolition of the fee for pensioners to January 1, 2009.