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RIGA - Each step to improve the healthcare situation of pensioners is a step in the right direction, Latvian Pensioners Federation's head and Saeima member Andris Silins (Greens/Farmers) told LETA today, commenting the Health Ministry's proposal to lift co-payments for pensioners for hospital stays.
He said that he believes healthcare issues will receive greater attention in the future.
Asked what the next step the Health Ministry should take to improve healthcare for seniors, Silins said that the matter related to the price of non-compensated medicines should be tackled. ''If the situation surrounding compensated medicines is relatively acceptable, in the meantime we are seeing non-compensated medicines becoming more expensive,'' Silins said.
As reported, in order to lift the EUR 10 co-payment for each day pensioners stay at a hospital for treatments, an additional EUR 6.5 to 7 million is necessary, Health Minister Anda Caksa (Greens/Farmers) told LETA.
Caksa said that she would like for these co-payments to be lifted for all residents, but that this would mean a more considerable sum which she believes Latvia would not yet be able to afford next year.
The minister explained that hospital stays for pensioners is a considerable drain on their personal budgets. ''At the moment, is a hospital stay exceed EUR 500, then co-payments are not calculated anymore. But EUR 500 is still a huge sum for many pensioners,'' she said.
She also reminded that the OECD has also criticized Latvia for having too large co-payments for healthcare, and that one of the segments where patients pay a considerable amount of money is for hospital stays.
Caksa said that the lifting of co-payments for pensioners should be a priority, as already now such co-payments for children have been lifted. She said that in the future, such co-payments could be lifted for other groups of residents.