Ana Mato, the Minister for Health, Social services and Equality, revealed on Monday that there are currently 200,000 people in Spain who avoid paying for their prescription medicines by using the health card of a pensioner to get them free of charge.
Apparently, although almost everybody else in Spain has known for decades that this occurs frequently, the Ministry discovered it only recently whilst updating its database in collaboration with the Ministry of Hacienda in order to implement the new prescribed medicine charges which come into operation on 1st July. As of this date the pensioner payment rate will become 10%.
The Minister says that there are as many as 800,000 people who hold a health card as a beneficiary of another patient, when they have the right to a card of their own. A quarter of these have been avoiding payment despite having the means and income to bear the costs of their medicines without any problems.
It would be interesting to see the study estimating how much these 200,000 people have defrauded the system by, although if the truth be said, this is probably just the tip of the iceberg.
At least the entire financial problems of the health system aren't down to "extranjeros " abusing the system, some of the problem it seems, could be home grown.
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