On Wednesday, 9 February, a majority of the Budget and Finance (Taxation) Committee approved the concept of improving the financing system in the health-care sector and thus to ensure fair access to state-funded medical services and to combat the shadow economy.
According to Jānis Reirs, Chairman of the Committee, linking the payment of taxes with the availability of state-funded medical services would introduce positive changes in financing the health-care sector; access to state-funded medical services would also become fairer. He urged that the concept be improved and that steps be taken to implement it.
The concept sets forth that state-funded health-care services would be available to the full extent to personal income tax payers, children and pensioners, as well as to inhabitants who have a valid reason for not paying the personal income tax. This group would include disabled persons, persons who are registered as unemployed, one of the parents who takes care of a child under 1.5 years of age, full-time students at general education institutions who are 18 years of age, part-time students at secondary schools, students at vocational education institutions and higher education institutions, as well as prisoners.
“Other inhabitants who do not pay the personal income tax would be able to pay for routine health-care services themselves. That would cost LVL 21 per month per person. Regardless of whether one does or does not pay taxes, everyone would also qualify for free-of-charge medical assistance in emergencies and in case of pregnancy, as well as for specific state-financed programmes,” points out Ingrīda Circene (Unity), the author of this concept.
The MP emphasises that introducing a fee for receiving routine assistance means motivating at least some tax evaders to legalise their status and thus automatically to start receiving state-funded services.
The Budget and Finance (Taxation) Committee proposed broadening the category of those who for valid reasons are exempt from taxes. Imants Parādnieks, a member of the Committee, proposed including mothers who stay at home with their children up to the age of 3 years.
This idea received support from representatives of the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Economics as well. They expressed readiness to cooperate in order to formulate more precisely the proposed version of the concept. The attending experts noted that after the concept is introduced, it would ensure a steady and regular inflow of payments for the received medical services.
Saeima Press Service