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By Peter Stevenson MEMBERS of Volunteer Doctors Cyprus have treated around 350 people at their free clinic in Nicosia since it opened three months ago, while two more, one in Paphos and one in Polis are due to open today. Limassol also has a free clinic, which was opened only last month, and plans have been drawn ...
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SOME 10 days ago, foreign minister Ioannis Kasoulides raised expectations by announcing the possibility of a deal with Turkey for the opening of the fenced off area of Famagusta, for the return of its inhabitants. In exchange the Cyprus government would agree to the opening of Tymbou airport to direct flights. ...
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By George Psyllides PRIVATE auditors have expressed doubt the electricity authority (EAC) could be considered a going concern and have asked its board to draft a credible plan to tackle the problem, according to the auditor-general’s 2012 report on the semi-state company. Among other issues, ...
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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Our View: Festering resentment of Greek Cypriots over healthcare ]

Our View: Festering resentment of Greek Cypriots over healthcare

WHEN the previous government decided in 2003 to offer free healthcare to all Turkish Cypriots with a Cyprus Republic ID card, it never considered the implications of its decision. It seemed a good idea at the time, as the checkpoints had just been opened and the government wanted to show that it considered Turkish Cypriots citizens of the Republic and would treat them as such.

That was the theory, but seven years later the Papadopoulos government’s good intentions have backfired. We now have a situation in which Turkish Cypriots enjoy preferential treatment when it comes to state healthcare. They belong to the privileged club of individuals, together with public employees, who are entitled to free healthcare irrespective of their income. All other citizens need to provide proof of annual earnings below €12,000 to be eligible to free healthcare and medicine.

What is worse is that the majority of Turkish Cypriot who use state hospitals work and live in the north, thus contributing nothing in taxes to the Republic. Greek Cypriots, on the other hand, who had been paying direct and indirect taxes all their life have to pay for health care; they may even be earning less than the Turkish Cypriots who use our hospitals. Is this socially just?

The cost of free healthcare to the Turkish Cypriots amounted to €32 million between 2003 and 2009, health ministry officials have said. This may not be a big amount over six-and-a-half years, but the money is not the issue. The issue is the lack of equal treatment. According to press reports several Greek Cypriot had taken legal action against the Republic for its failure to treat all citizens equally, when it came to providing health care.

The litigation is an indication of the festering resentment among Greek Cypriots about the injustice of the system, which does not end with the Turkish Cypriots. EU nationals are also entitled to free treatment at state hospitals as a result of Union regulations. How ironic that the people who make the biggest contribution to state tax coffers – Greek Cypriots employed in the private sector – are not entitled to free care.

The government would argue that everything would be put right when the national health scheme is introduced, but this might not happen for another five years. And when it is, would Turkish Cypriots still be entitled to free care, if they are not working in the south and contributing to the health insurance scheme? It might be a good idea to address the issue now, and the authorities should consider that even wealthy countries like Germany do not provide free healthcare to individuals who do not make their monthly health scheme contributions.

(Source: Cyprus Mail)
Copyright © Cyprus Mail 2008 Please contact Cyprus Mail for the copyright terms of this article.

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