Monday Jul 28, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
31o C
23o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Greek parliament approves health cuts

The Greek parliament approved an extension of pharmacy opening hours and cuts to drugs spending on Thursday as part of a package of healthcare reforms agreed in return for last week's 130 billion euro international bailout deal.

The early morning vote, the final significant element in the package of so-called prior actions which Athens had promised before this week's European Union summit, follows Tuesday's approval of 3.2 billion euros in budget cuts and a steep reduction in the minimum wage.

Deputies voted 213 to 58 to approve the package, with 17 abstaining in a result which was generally expected after Greece's two biggest parties backed the package.

Greece has been under heavy pressure to match its repeated reform and savings pledges with concrete action after increasing skepticism about the ability of Prime Minister Lucas Papademos' government to push through unpopular changes.

"The Greek authorities have to deliver, European Commissioner for regional policy Johannes Hahn told Reuters in an interview

There has been growing concern that the repeated doses of austerity will deepen a recession now in its fifth year and make it impossible to cut a public debt burden amounting to 160 percent of gross domestic product.

As well as extending pharmacy hours, an issue which sparked a revolt among lawmakers who rejected the proposal in January, Wednesday's vote will also limit spending on drugs by state pension funds and mandate generic drugs prescriptions to cut costs.

Greece spends some 25 billion euros a year, roughly 10 percent of its GDP, on health and controlling a bloated public health system, has been a priority.

Resistance to the measures among powerful medical lobbies has been fierce however with posters attacking Health Minister Andreas Loverdos as a gravedigger plastered over many pharmacies in recent days.

Cheaper generic drugs account for just 18 percent of the market in Greece, one of the lowest levels in the European Union, compared with 80 percent in Germany.

The latest measures aim to lift the Greek total to 50 percent, in line with the rest of Europe.

Wednesday's vote does not impose the kind of pain on ordinary Greeks that the previous cuts have done but it is intended to attack waste in the frequently corrupt and inefficient public health system.

Popular protests against the austerity measures, which exploded into violence earlier this month, have been muted in recent days with many Greeks still shocked by the images of burning buildings seen during the riots.

A small demonstration in front of the parliament on Wednesday broke up after heavy rain began but a transport strike is set to disrupt trains and buses on Thursday and unions have pledged further action in the coming weeks.

[Reuters]

ekathimerini.com , Thursday March 1, 2012 (08:58)  
Tree collapses in village square, killing nine-year-old boy
Samaras to meet Cypriot President Anastasiades in Athens
Maziotis moved to Diavata Prison in Thessaloniki
Defense Minister Avramopoulos to represent Greece at European Commission
Multi-bill containing prior actions ready for Parliament
The multi-bill that includes the prior actions Greece needs to complete to receive another 1 billion euros in bailout loans is likely to be submitted to Parliament later on Monday, Kathimeri...
ANALYSIS
Euro inflation seen testing ECB patience as stimulus takes time
When the European Central Bank unleashed a stimulus barrage in June, it cautioned that the economy would take some time to respond. Data due this week may test its patience. The inflation ra...
Inside Business
VOLLEYBALL
Volleyball national team second in European League
Much as the national volleyball team tried to repeat in the finals of the European League the feat it had achieved in the semifinals, it failed to overturn the advantage Montenegro had got f...
SOCCER
Ranieri says he has little to change in Greek national team
The Hellenic Football Federation (EPO) presented Claudio Ranieri as the new Greece coach for the next couple of years, after the Italian manager signed his contract in Athens on Friday. I l...
Inside Sports
COMMENTARY
Weighing all the factors
Certain people in the know continue to believe that snap elections will take place in the fall. Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is obviously aware of this trend, which is why he told Parliame...
EDITORIAL
Clear rules, for everyone
If we want to deal with the economic crisis, we need clear rules. A large number of individuals and businesses have amassed huge debts they cannot service. And some worrying symptoms have al...
Inside Comment
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
RECENT NEWS
1. Multi-bill containing prior actions ready for Parliament
2. Tree collapses in village square, killing nine-year-old boy
3. Samaras to meet Cypriot President Anastasiades in Athens
4. Maziotis moved to Diavata Prison in Thessaloniki
5. Euro inflation seen testing ECB patience as stimulus takes time
6. Defense Minister Avramopoulos to represent Greece at European Commission
more news
Today
This Week
1. Defense Minister Avramopoulos to represent Greece at European Commission
2. Euro inflation seen testing ECB patience as stimulus takes time
3. Maziotis moved to Diavata Prison in Thessaloniki
4. Samaras to meet Cypriot President Anastasiades in Athens
5. Tree collapses in village square, killing nine-year-old boy
6. Multi-bill containing prior actions ready for Parliament
Today
This Week
1. Climber dies in Mount Olympus fall
2. Greek sovereign debt at 174.1 percent of GDP in first quarter
3. Unequal after death
4. Hedge fund Dromeus turns Greek tragedy to triumph with 160 pct gain
5. Quadriplegic woman on life support 'dies due to unpaid power bills'
6. Front-line threats
Find us ...
... on
Twitter
... on Facebook
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.