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Experts view Finance Ministry’s proposal to divert certain parts of the social budget to pay for certain healthcare services. Welfare Ministry is especially cautious about this proposal.

Social insurance experts are cautious about Finance Ministry’s idea to divert 1% of the state social insurance special budget to the healthcare budget. Welfare Ministry is openly against this idea, as the institution believes there should be certainty that the social budget can afford something like that, as reported by nra.lv.

By diverting 1% from the social budget, the healthcare budget would become richer by approximately EUR 80-90 million, nra.lv mentions.

Welfare Ministry’s state secretary Jana Muizniece notes that the ministry is against the proposal to allocate 1% of the social budget to the healthcare budget. «According to our estimates, it will be EUR 85 million, and if this amount is taken from the social budget, we will need to think about limiting certain social services or changing conditions for their provision,» Muizniece said.

It should be said that Uldis Augulis, former Welfare Minister of Latvia, is also against the proposal to divert finances for healthcare industry. He had previously mentioned that financing healthcare from the social budget will ruin stable and ordered system intended for other goals. «Of course it is necessary to resolve the lasting problems in healthcare. But we cannot simply cut into the social budget without first considering the consequences. It would be the same as hitting clock mechanism with an axe,» medicine.lv cites Augulis’ words.

An opinion was previously voiced in the Saeima, stating that diverting 1% of the social budget to healthcare would be appropriate in a situation if the rate of social fees is also increased by 1%. Its current rate is 34.09% (23.59% are paid by the employer and 10.5% by the employee).

If 1% of the social budget is diverted to healthcare, according to Prof. Aivars Vetra of Latvian Rehabilitation Professional Association, this money will only be used for diagnostics, treatment and rehabilitation services. Additional funding would help maintain the accessibility of healthcare services and plan out a direct link between services and increase of social budget revenue, which would strengthen Latvia’s social security system.