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Health Care Costs Up for 120,000 Icelanders

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Health Care Costs Up for 120,000 Icelanders

Landspítali

Landspítali National University Hospital. Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

If a bill proposed in parliament by Minister for Health Kristján Þór Júlíusson is approved, heath care costs will increase for 120,000 Icelanders, 37,000 of them retirees, RÚV reports.

The main change the bill proposes is a roof on patient contribution, monthly, as well as annual, meaning that health care costs of those who need to use medical services often will go down, while the cost of those who use them seldom will increase. The bill is being reviewed by Alþingi’s Welfare Committee.

The bill also entails that children will be able to see a specialist for free, provided that they first get a referral from a family physician.

“This change we’re making is the first step, that is, this is first and foremost a change in the system to simplify it, make it more transparent and, in fact, more just toward patients,” Kristján stated.

MP Sigríður Ingibjörg Ingadóttir of the Social Democratic Alliance, who chairs the Welfare Committee, expressed disappointment that the bill did not assume any funding increase for the health care system, and as a result, health care costs of 120,000 people would go up.

Kristján told RÚV that the share of medical costs paid by families is now 18.2 percent, but used to be almost 20 percent.

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