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Greece to strengthen Health Care System

A Greek national flag flutters as Greek Orthodox priests make their way on main Constitution (Syntagma) square in Athens February 25, 2015. | Photo: Reuters A Greek national flag flutters as Greek Orthodox priests make their way on main Constitution (Syntagma) square in Athens February 25, 2015. | Photo: Reuters
ATHENS,  Greece, April 2, 2015- Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said Thursday his government will strengthen the public health care system in Greece by the hiring of 4,500 staff and the abolition of a compulsory US$5.4 fee for treatment at public hospitals.

"The national health service had problems before the bailout, but it's obvious that in the last four or five years, the bailout choices and reforms were a nuclear bomb at the foundations of the national health service," Tsipras said.

The measure forms part of a broad package of reforms, which aims to overhaul the country’s broken medical system by providing universal access to quality healthcare.

"All citizens, after this terrifying crisis, should have access to healthcare irrespective of whether they have insurance or not," Tsipras said.

Greece invests US$12 billion a year on its public healthcare system, equaling 5 percent of its total economic output, which Tsipras said represented the lowest level of health spending among EU countries.

The announcement comes, as its European and International Monetary Fund (IMF) lenders are demanding a commitment to fiscal austerity.

Greece can obtain US$8 billion in new loans from the eurozone and the IMF if it implements austerity reforms that the previous government agreed would be the condition for disbursement.

The new government does not want to implement most of these measures because they contradict its election promises of ending fiscal austerity measures.

This content was originally published by teleSUR at the following address: http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Greece-to-Strengthen-Health-Care-System--20150402-0019.html.

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