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Former health minister: Universal healthcare should be a norm in Estonia

Tanel Kiik (right) and Jüri Ratas at Saturday's Center Party board meeting.
Tanel Kiik (right) and Jüri Ratas at Saturday's Center Party board meeting. Source: Grete Huik

State health insurance should be expanded to cover 100,000 more people in Estonia, former health minister Tanel Kiik (Center) says. This would in effect make universal healthcare a norm in Estonia, he said.

Kiik's reasoning is that the co-payment burden for healthcare services is currently too high, and accounts for around 25 percent of total healthcare costs, considerably higher than that in many other European countries.

Speaking Saturday at the same Center Party conference which reelected Jüri Ratas as party leader, Kiik, who is set to become one of Tallinn's seven deputy mayors from the end of this month, said: "Internationally, a level of 15 percent is considered satisfactory, ensuring co-payment rates neither lead to the impoverishment of people nor hinder receiving the necessary assistance." 

"Together with the healthcare financing reform, we must reach an expansion of health insurance to all, i.e. universal health insurance, something which is common in the EU," Kiik added..

Financing this move could be carried out at the expense of other tax revenues, or by widening the tax base in the collection of social tax, Center finds.

Kiik also appealed to the other four parliamentary parties to come up with their own proposals for booting healthcare funding, in order to stave off the deterioration of the system, longer wait lines for treatment, shortages of healthcare workers and rising co-payments.

"Healthcare must be a service available in solidarity, not a privilege of the wealthy," he said.

Center's statement on the policy was officially adopted at the party's meeting on Saturday.

Tanel Kiik was health minister April 2019 to June this year.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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