RIGA - All laws that provide for increases in funding without specifying the sources thereof have to be amended, Saeima Budget and Finance Committee Chairman Martins Bondars (For Development/For) said in an interview with Latvian Radio.
He acknowledged that he himself voted late last year for amendments to the Healthcare Financing Law, which stipulated an increase in funding for the healthcare sector without specifying a source that would cover this increase. He also supported the amendments at the beginning of this year when voting for the 2019 budget.
When asked why, Bondars said that, apparently, the more experienced MEPs could not convince the younger ones.
Bondars also said that it was very difficult to vote against popular things. "In politics, there will always be a situation where the intentions are greater than the possibilities. It is normal that deputies want more than they can afford," he said.
Bondars admitted that it was wrong to pass such laws, stating that they should all be "amended back".
Bondars promised step-by-step increase in financing for the health industry.
As reported, the government originally planned to allocate EUR 120 million for increasing medical workers' wages by about 20 percent next year. At the beginning of this month, however, the government agreed that a total of approximately EUR 60 million could be allotted for the purpose.
After no agreement was reached on increasing health workers' wages in accordance with what is provided for in the law, nurses and physicians' protest campaign Lower the Flag, Light the Candle! commenced on November 8 and will continue through November 13 in all the largest hospitals, doctors' offices and other healthcare institutions in Latvia.
Participating in the protest campaign will be the Junior Doctors' Association, Medical Association, Latvian Nurses' Association and the Trade Union of Health and Social Care Employees of Latvia, and the campaign is supported by all professional healthcare organizations and healthcare institutions.