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May 17, 2022

PNL draft on prevention in healthcare stirs discontent

A draft law initiated by the National Liberal Party (PNL) but signed by 128 MPs from several parties, including PMP and UDMR, has stirred a wave of discontent from PSD and on social networks.

The controversial draft stipulates that patients who refuse prevention programmes risk bearing the costs of the treatments. “Citizens can refuse in writing the prevention services, however prior to that they should be warned that if they fall ill because they did not take part in prevention programmes they will cover the costs of treatments in part or in full,” PNL lawmaker Eugen Nicolaescu, former Health Minister, explained. Authorities would devise a multiannual National Prevention Programme financed with no less than 10 per cent of the funds allocated to the public healthcare sector.

Moreover, the National Agency for Prevention in Health would be established for this purpose, being placed under the authority of the Health Ministry and tasked with drafting and implementing the programme. Those who actively contribute to the maintenance of their health could benefit from financial incentives.

“Let’s not leave cancer patients at PNL’s mercy”

PSD’s and ALDE’s reaction was not late in coming. The two parties criticise the stipulation that would see Romanians fined for refusing health checks.

“It’s our duty not to leave ordinary people, people without financial resources, at the mercy of PNL members who want cancer patients to pay for their treatment if they are not taking part in prevention checks. I am asking you to take the initiative. Some citizens have launched a petition asking for the rejection of this draft. I have signed it and I am asking you to do the same,” Valeriu Zgonea wrote on Facebook. “An old man living on top of the mountain, for whom going to the doctor is a real adventure, in case he develops cancer he would have to pay for his treatment. PNL is thinking only about the rich, not about ordinary people who cannot afford to pay for the drugs. What would we do with these people? Let them die in pain because they didn’t make it to prevention checks?” Zgonea added.

“Only after we offer Romanians the necessary services should we look for the two or three suckers who, for reasons they alone know, refuse the right to health and life. Only then and only toward them should you be merciless. Fine them as much as you please,” reads the reproach brought by ALDE, the party led by Calin Popescu Tariceanu.

Subsequently, the Liberals came up with explanations on the law, being of the opinion that the reactions are groundless political attacks.

“There are many solutions. We will have to identify that minimum infrastructure necessary to make it possible. For instance, we can buy, purchase a series of cars fitted with laboratories, such a thing exists, which would go from locality to locality with the doctor delegated for that locality,” Eugen Nicolaescu, the leader of PNL Lower Chamber lawmakers, stated.
Eugen Nicolaescu added: “After the prevention starts, assessments would be carried out over the next five years and, based on these assessments, sanctions could be applied. The Romanian state takes the responsibility of preventing pathologies, illnesses among citizens. The Romanian state spends the money.”

PNL Co-President Alina Gorghiu admitted that the law is not perfect. Nevertheless, Liberals do not want to give up the sanctions included in the draft law.

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