Health tourism axed

Fecha Publicación: 
26 Abril 2012

€7bn healthcare cut includes tighter controls on care for non-residents

Costa Almería News | Noticia

Ministers have approved proposals which aim to slash 10 billion euros from spending on health and education this year.
Friday’s cabinet meeting approved reforms which will crack down on so-called health tourism, as well as scrapping free prescriptions for pensioners and increasing university tuition charges.
The government had previously stated it aimed to curb health tourism, claiming that the state health service was being abused by foreigners. Now, it has moved to make obtaining free treatment more difficult for visitors from abroad.
At present, any foreigner registering on the official list of residents, the padrón, at a town hall is entitled to a health card which guarantees the same level of health care as Spanish citizens.
However, the government says the system has been abused by illegal immigrants and relatives of some foreign residents who, it claims, have come to Spain solely to benefit from the health service. Health Minister Ana Mato claimed that every year, 700,000 people use the system without having the right to do so, at a cost to the country of 917 million euros.

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