‘Health for everyone, everywhere’ will be at the heart of the Humanist Democratic Centre (cdH)’s electoral campaign in May next, cdH legislators in Wallonia’s parliament said on Wednesday as they presented their best wishes to the press in a context marked by the announcement of the resignation of party leader Benoît Lutgen. “Health is a sector that has suffered greatly in this legislature whereas the needs of the population are greater and greater,” the head of the cdH group in the Walloon parliament, Dimitri Fourny, said. As a result, the party wants to tackle the shortage of primary-care doctors in rural areas, with measures such as providing financing for medical clinics.
“This support can take the form of assistance for building these clinics and coordination so as to pool expenses, using fiscal incentives or redistributing APE [Employment Promotion Assistance] points,” Fourny said, referring to a type of reward offered for employment creation.
The cdH also plans to review the norms for financing new hospitals so as to respond to the needs of modern medicine. “During this term, the federal government cut back on financing for hospitals and increased the sector’s workload. These norms need to be reviewed to provide better health care everywhere in Belgium,” said the humanist legislator, whose party also advocates reforms to the supervision provided in nursing homes.
“We are also advocating for a series of health-care actions to be better covered and reimbursed,” Fourny added. The cdH would like optical care, including glasses, to be free for children under the age of 18. It is also calling for a reduction from 21% to 6% of VAT on spectacles and contact lenses for adult patients.
“These points wull be crucial axes of our campaign,” Fourny said, stressing that he would be supporting Maxime Prévot, so far the only declared candidate for Benoît Lutgen’s succession. “The more united we are, the more numerous we are in supporting her, the greater our chances for giving the cdH a new dimension and wining the elections,” he added.
The party’s new president will be known on 26 January at a congress to be organised in Louvain-la-Neuve. Prospective candidates have until Sunday to declare their intention to run.