Parliament Passes Conclusively 2019 National Health Insurance Fund Budget, Socialists to Challenge its Constitutionality
125 POLITICS - HEALTH INSURANCE FUND - BUDGET - LAW
Parliament Passes Conclusively 2019 National Health
Insurance Fund Budget, Socialists to
Challenge its Constitutionality
Sofia, November 27 (BTA) - Parliament Tuesday passed conclusively the 2019 National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) Budget Bill. In addition to setting the financial framework for NHIF, it also paves the way to some major changes in the structure of Bulgarian health care.
The debates lasted over eight hours.
The Socialists said they are taking the law to the Constitutional Court because its transitional and final provisions push through changes in 18 other laws. BSP leader Kornelia Ninova called this "a slap in the face of Bulgarian law and a stain on the Bulgarian Parliament".
The expenditures are set at 4.35 billion leva, which is 490 million more than in 2018, along with a deficit of 50 million leva. The increase of the budget is biggest for hospitals and they will get over 2 billion leva or 170 million more than this year. They, however, will continue to have a cap on the financing they can claim from the NHIF for services they have provided.
Outlays for medicines covered by medical insurance are 117 million leva more than this year and those for payments to foreign health insurers for treatment of Bulgarians in other EU member states are more than doubled to 160 million leva.
The budget is based on the assumption that the health insurance contribution remains unchanged at 8 per cent.
The transitional and final provisions of the NHIF Budget Act revise the Health Insurance Act, the Medicinal Products in Human Medicine Act, the Medical-Treatment Facilities Act, the Health Act and other laws.
These amendments provide for the establishment of a Medical Supervisory Agency under the Health Minister which will be the legal successor to the Executive Agency for Medical Audit and the Executive Agency for Transplantations. They also introduce parliamentary control over the opening of new hospitals and government control over the expansion of existing hospitals. They set out a plan for establishing and maintaining a National Health Information System (containing the entire information about the health condition of every person).
Also, NHIF will take over the functions of the Fund for Treatment of Children and the Commission for Treatment Abroad.
New medical standards will be introduced for all branches of medicine and new mechanisms sets in place for payment of medical products.
It was all these changes which made the debate so long. BSP argued that it is unrealistic to adopt new standards for all areas over a period of one year and then have over 14,000 medical practices and 360 health care establishments re-licensed by a new agency.