Wednesday, November 27 2019 18:06
Naira Badalian

Minister of Healthcare calls on working citizens to refrain from the  approaches of "wild capitalism" and not scrimp on the treatment of  fellow citizens

Minister of Healthcare calls on working citizens to refrain from the  approaches of "wild capitalism" and not scrimp on the treatment of  fellow citizens

ArmInfo.The Minister of  Healthcare of Armenia Arsen Torosyan, the initiator of the "health tax" today decided to talk again with his, as he put it in,  "followers", so that he could "direct discussions on the  implementation of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in the right  direction".

According to the minister, either intentionally or not, but  discussions on the topic are going in the wrong direction. Thus,  according to the observations of the head of the Ministry of Health,  the project is mainly opposed by high-income individuals and those  who already have voluntary health insurance. For the latter, Torosyan  said that the employer will not have to pay twice for the employee's  health insurance - the state will take care of this within the  framework of the UHC, and the business owner will be able to allocate  these funds to meet the other needs of the employee.

Arsen Torosyan once again turned to those working citizens of the  country who do not want to pay for medical insurance for the  unemployed, noting that no one is immune to being unemployed. " I  want to ask the opponents of the project, who wonder why the  treatment of lazy, unemployed citizens should be paid on their taxes,  by the same logic, why should those who don't pay taxes  drive on the  road built on the expense of taxes paid by me?, "he said.

In addition, according to Torosyan, today the country's population  spends much more money on health than the Ministry of Health proposes  to collect. "We are just proposing a new mechanism for collecting and  distributing these funds, a more efficient and more equitable one,  which will provide the state with more results," he said.

"We have one country, and public good should be universal," he said,  emphasizing that the discriminatory path does not lead to the  development of the country. The head of the Ministry of Health warns  - "the approaches of" wild capitalism "- not carrying about  unemployed fellow citizens are leading us in a very wrong direction."

To recall, the Ministry of Healthcare of Armenia presented a draft  Concept for the introduction of universal health coverage in Armenia.  According to the draft concept, the UHC will cover the entire  population within the framework of the established basic package of  services, which will be differentiated depending on age and gender.

According to the project, the cost of annual insurance coverage per  one beneficiary is 77 274 drams.  Compensation of expenses for  insurance coverage will be carried out from two main sources: total  revenues of the state budget and health tax. Regardless of belonging  to any group of the population, citizens working and self-employed,  will pay a health tax.

According to preliminary estimates of the Ministry of Healthcare, the  <health tax> will not become an additional burden for more than 41%  of the working population (those who have a monthly income of 150  thousand drams or more). For the remaining 59% of employees, the  effect of the new type of tax, according to the authors of the  document, will be mitigated by the introduction of a flat tax scale.  It is noteworthy that the authors of the concept of the UHC, either  intentionally mislead the reader, or by mistake, declare that Armenia  will switch to income tax at a rate of 20% as early as 2021. And on  the basis of this, they considered that for those who receive a  "minimum wage" the tax base will decrease by 4%, and then "the  establishment of a health tax of 4-6% will not have a significant  negative impact on the employee's income." In fact, if in 2022 a new  tax is nevertheless introduced, the accountant will deduct funds from  the employees' salaries at the total rate according to the following  scheme: 21% income tax, + 5% of payments under mandatory pension  system, + 6% health tax, + payments to the Fund 1000 drams. 

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