Bulgaria’s Parliament appoints new health insurance fund chief

Bulgaria’s Parliament appointed Rumyana Todorova as the new head of the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) on July 10. Her appointment was voted by 101MPs in Bulgaria’s 240-seat legislature.

She will serve the remainder of the current term, which expires in February 2015, replacing Plamen Tsekov, who was fired last week by the ruling coalition, which cited a lack of transparency at NHIF and conflicts between Tsekov and doctor and patient associations.

NHIF is the independent government agency that manages the collection of mandatory health care insurance and parcels out the funds to the health care system, including state subsidies to hospitals and partial coverage of medicine costs for patients.

Todorova served as NHIF director before, appointed in 2006 during the term of the socialist-lead tripartite government. She resigned the position in November 2009, only months after GERB won the parliamentary elections, citing political pressure and a lack of trust from the GERB government.

After her appointment was voted, Todorova said that her first task would be to check NHIF’s financial situation, because she did not believe that the fund’s budget was balanced. She echoed the criticism about the lack of transparency about NHIF’s finances, but said that it was unlikely that this year’s budget could be changed.

Meanwhile, Todorova’s appointment still carried a large question mark, linked to the sacking of her predecessor Tsekov, who was appointed in April 2012 by the previous legislature, dominated by Boiko Borissov’s party GERB.

GERB, now in opposition and still boycotting Parliament sittings, has filed a Constitutional Court suit to challenge Tsekov’s firing, arguing that the reasons given for it did not meet the criteria for firing the NHIF head, outlined in existing laws.

The court said on July 9 that the lawsuit was deemed admissible and would be examined by the judges.

(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)



The Sofia Globe staff

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