BMJ News Reports On Russia’s $15.1B Health Care Overhaul

Russia will undergo a $15.1 billion overhaul of its health care sector, including changes to its medical insurance system as well as health care delivery across the country, according to BMJ News. It is “the biggest reform of its troubled healthcare sector – described by Vladimir Putin, the prime minster, as ‘deplorable.'” Russian MPs approved the legislation calling for the change in a preliminary vote in in July. As part of the reform, employer contributions to medical insurance would increase from 3.1 to 5.1 percent of an employee’s salary in the next two years in order to raise money for the overhaul.

The majority of the budget “will be spent on renovating hospitals and buying new equipment. Some will also be used to help set up a unified database for outpatient electronic records.” The bill will also “make free medical care at the point of delivery available nationwide for the first time since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.” BMJ reports that employers are opposed to the plan; they have “argued that the new system would place too much power in the hands of inefficient government officials and said it looked like a partial return to a Soviet-style centralised health service” (Osborn, 7/26).

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