Bulgarian Premier Survives No-Confidence Vote on Health Careby
Opposition accuses government of curbing access to medical aid
Government proposes new health-care plan to improve financing
Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov survived a no-confidence vote in his minority cabinet over health-care policies, the first such challenge since he took office for a second stint in the European Union’s poorest country.
Lawmakers rejected the motion, voting 130 to 80 with five abstentions in the 240-seat assembly, Speaker Tsetska Tsacheva said in parliament Friday. The vote was called by the Bulgarian Socialist Party and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, representing the country’s ethnic Turks. They accused the government of creating chaos in the health-care system, cutting the number of beds in hospitals and depriving people in the countryside of access to medical treatment.
“The majority of lawmakers support the government’s policies,” Health Minister Petar Moskov told reporters after the vote. “We need to improve and upgrade policies in the health-care system so that patients have access to medicines and treatment at lower cost.”
Borissov’s second cabinet took office in 2014, pledging to streamline the inefficient health-care, pension and education systems. The National Health Insurance Fund manages more than 3.2 billion lev ($1.8 billion), including 2.1 billion lev collected as obligatory contributions from working Bulgarians to finance public health-care costs. The fund ended 2014 with a shortfall of about 70 million lev after its budget was revised twice to approve additional state funding of 325 million lev.
The yield on Bulgaria’s euro-denominated bond maturing in Sept. 2024 rose 2 basis points or 0.02 percentage point to 2.521 percent at 3:01 p.m. in Sofia.
The government proposed earlier this month a new national health-care plan seeking to adjust services and hospital beds to regional demand. Proposed policies will provide broader access to health care with ensured state financing, Moskov said in the motion debates on Feb. 17. Borissov’s Gerb party and junior coalition partner, the Reformers’ Bloc, along two small parties, supported the government.