Thursday, 26 March 2015
Over 50 people called to action by MPLP (Medicine for the people), gathered in front of the office of Health minister Maggie De Block, to launch their “No money needed to see my GP” campaign, on Thursday from 10:30am to 11:30 am. A petition was published online to support the campaign. Representatives of MPLP will meet with the minister on Monday. From July 1st, a partial reimbursement (of doctors’ fees paid for directly by private health insurance companies) will be in force for patients benefitting from higher reimbursement rates. MPLP is asking for this system to benefit everyone and at the same time, for an end to co-payment (payable by patients).
The protest saw a small case filled with 8 artefacts representing the protesters’ arguments: a clock (because it is time for change), a quality label (to support a strong body of GPs), a wrench (because it can work), an ID card reader (because modern technology makes this easily feasible), scales (because access to care should be fair), a hand (to represent increased support for this demand), a purse ( because the system is very affordable), and a piggy bank (because of the returns expected thanks to the knock-on effect of savings at the highest level of treatment). MPLP reckons the measure could increase the cost of the GP co-payment system from 170 million euros to 250 million euros, which is still less than 1% of the total budget of Inami (National institute for health and disability insurance).
MPLP notes that every year, 900,000 Belgians forgo at least one visit to their GP for financial reasons, and that Belgium comes in 20th in the ranking of European countries when it comes to financial accessibility to medicine.
MPLP is a Belgian network created by the PBT and includes 11 first-class care homes.