BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Romania's prime minister says hospital patients will pay for treatment as part of an agreement with the International Monetary Fund to reduce spending in the state health sector.
The fee will be introduced in March. "It will be a small sum, not for medical tests, not for emergency cases, just for those who are hospitalized," Prime Minister Victor Ponta said Monday. Romania spends just 4.4 percent of its gross domestic product on health, a lower percentage than neighboring countries and less than half the proportion that that France spends.
The Medics' College says the measure will not resolve ongoing problems. Romania undertook huge spending cuts after took a €20 billion ($26 billion) bailout loan from the IMF in 2009. Ponta said that the current €5 billion euro (4.3 billion pounds) IMF standby deal, which is due to expire in March, will be extended by two months which would allow the government time to sell state companies and seek a new agreement. Romania has not used any of the money from the standby loan.
"This is basically good news" Ponta said. "Romania remains under the umbrella of the accord which will allow us to consolidate (our) results," such as political stability, firming the exchange rate and boosting investor confidence in Romania. His center-left government overwhelmingly won Dec. 2012 elections.