Bulgaria’s ruling coalition succeeded on December 14 in overturning President Roumen Radev’s veto on the 2018 budget of the National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF), although MPs from the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) vowed to take the fight to the Constitutional Court.
The motion to overturn the veto passed with 125 votes in favour and was opposed by 95 MPs, as the socialists were joined by the other major opposition party, the Movement for Rights and Freedoms.
Radev vetoed the NHIF budget on December 8, arguing specifically that a provision precluding the Fund from covering costs of newly-developed drugs would result in discriminatory treatment and affected the constitutional right to affordable healthcare.
The provision only affects drugs that have been recently certified and have not been included in the list of drugs the costs of which are fully or partially covered by NHIF, as well as drugs that have been included in that list but were due to be covered starting in 2018.
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.
BSP deputy parliamentary group leader Zhelyo Boichev described the debate preceding the vote to overturn the veto as “humiliating” and said that the party would lodge a challenge with the Constitutional Court. The party has 80 MPs, well above the 48 it needs to submit the complaint with the court.