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Healthcare to support people in need

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, December 12
The Government of Georgia has announced that its Universal Healthcare Program, launched in 2013, which offers a range of free medical services via budgetary funding, will mainly be available for poor people.

“From the next year, we are moving to a new stage when the Program should be more focused on demand-based, higher-quality services,” Kvirikashvili stated.

Georgia’s Health Minister, David Sergeenko, explained that when the Universal Healthcare Program was introduced, the major aim of the Georgian Dream Government - which came to power in October 2012 - was to make medical services available for the public.

“At that time, a man could die in the street as he had no money to go to a hospital,” Sergeenko said.

He stressed that from 2017, the Government launched a new stage of reforms for the Program which meant state financing through the Universal Healthcare Program won’t be available for those having enough or high incomes.

“We need to refine a data base for to definitely know who have private insurances and who don’t. Here are quite many people who receive medical financing from both state and private sources,” Sergeenko said.

The Minister also highlighted that all certified medical institutions would no longer be contracted as providers for the Universal Healthcare Program.

“We will very carefully select the medical institutions to pen a contract with, as there were hospitals and clinics which were taking state money without providing high-quality medical services,” Sergeenko stated.

A member of the United National Movement opposition party, Zurab Tchiaberashvili, stressed it was initially wrong for all people - without taking their incomes into account - to have access to the Program.

“Huge money has been spent on the Program over the last three years without providing genuine outcomes,” Tchiaberashvili stated.

He stressed that he was sure that the Government’s new plan would also be a failure as it encouraged the private insurance companies to increase the price for their services and people would have to wait long until they received medical services, as the number of provider medical institutions would be decreased.

Most analysts have stated they would wait for the draft of amendments for the Program before they voice their comments.

However, some of them showed interest in how the people would be re-involved in the Universal Healthcare Program if they lost their jobs, as Georgia remains quite an unstable country in terms of employment.