TBILISI, DFWatch — The new Georgian government has decided to make child delivery completely free from July 1, 2013.
Dimitry Khundadze, head of the parliamentary committee on healthcare, said on Monday that expenses for child delivery will be completely covered by a common insurance fund, which will soon be set up.
The average price for a delivery is about USD 600 for cesarean section and USD 250-300 for ordinary delivery.
While visiting the maternity house run by the Georgian Church, the Patriarchy, he said that allowances for socially vulnerable families will also increase.
The parliamentarian said the new government is preparing to establish an insurance fund which will cover every patient in the country, and the government will take on the obligation towards every citizen to insure their health.
It is planned to set up the fund in February. MP explained that today only pensioners and children under five, as well as the socially vulnerable, receive insurance from the government, but the remaining two million citizens do not have insurance.
The government will suggest a basic insurance package for them, which will include free consultation with a doctor, emergency medical assistance both ambulatory and inpatient care.
Free health insurance for every citizen of Georgia was one of the promises the Georgian Dream coalition made in the election campaign. It was criticized by their opponents and supporters of Saakashvili’s government, which has been liberalizing the economy and promoting free market while removing the social the safety net.
But last year, the competition they experienced during the election campaign forced them to change priorities and switch to a policy of offering people more social protection.
Now in opposition, the National Movement is criticizing the free healthcare initiative, claiming that not every person needs insurance in this country, as there is a large category of people who can provide their own insurance and it would be better to spend this money on something else.
They criticize the plan to offer free child birth saying it will bring back the old tradition of corrupt nurses who take care of mothers after delivery.
“Prepare your five dollars for those nurses to slip into their pockets once more,” they write in one online forum.
The 2013 budget is heavily focused on social programs. Healthcare and the social benefits are financed with USD 1.5 billion.