Delivering a speech at the Parliament on 13 December 2013, the Minister of Finance of Georgia, Nodar Khaduri, stated:  “The healthcare budget has doubled for the first time in Georgia in 2013; never before has such precedent taken place.”

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took interest in the statement and verified its accuracy based upon the data on the state budget found on the website of the Ministry of Finance of Georgia. (Note:  Since the factual data of the 2013 state budget has not been published so far, we used the planned data for 2013 and factual data for 2004-2012 in the current research).

In 2013, the total budget of the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia comprised GEL 2.345 billion; of this amount, GEL 681.213 million was allocated for healthcare, whereas in 2012, a total of GEL 373.830 million was spent on healthcare. As becomes clear from the abovementioned information, as compared to the factual data of 2012, the healthcare budget for 2013 increased by GEL 307.383 million.

We also looked into the initial project of the 2013 state budget as presented by the previous government. According to the said document the healthcare budget for 2013 was planned to be reduced to the amount of GEL 167,624.2 thousand.

We studied in detail the healthcare programmes for which the funding was slashed or increased. As compared to 2012, funding decreased for the following programmes in 2013:  outpatient services, hospital services and public healthcare services. Funding of the following programmes, however, took an increase in 2013: medical products, equipment and instruments (pharmaceutical products). The biggest amount was allocated for the Other Non-classified Activities in the Healthcare Sphere budget line.

In 2012, a total of GEL 184.544 million was earmarked for this article while this amount was raised to GEL 543.095 million in 2013. Therefore, funding for the abovementioned budget line increased by GEL 358.551 million. As can be seen, the overall growth of healthcare funding was primarily reflected in the increased funding for one of the programmes in particular; that is, Other Non-classified Activities in the Healthcare Sphere.

Healthcare Budget (GEL thousand)

Article

Fact of 2012

Plan of 2013

Total Healthcare Budget

373,830.10

681,212.60

Medical Products, Equipment and Instruments

16,270.50

19,593.00

Outpatient Services

33,673.50

25,695.60

Hospital Services

102,471.10

64,093.00

Public Healthcare Services

36,871.40

28,736.00

Other Non-classified Activities in the Healthcare Sphere

184,543.70

543,095.00

FactCheck inquired about the healthcare programmes that are included in this budget line. We contacted the Head of the Economic Department at the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia, Giorgi Gomareli. He provided the in-detail budget of this article. A total of GEL 543.095 million was allocated for the Other Non-classified Activities in the Healthcare Sphere budget line; the Ministry’s share comprised GEL 530.030 million. The obtained data shows that the significant increase of healthcare funding was caused by the extension of the State Health Insurance Programme. As can be seen in the table below, a total of GEL 505.760 million was envisaged in the budget for the Health Insurance Programme; however, it should be mentioned herein that according to the preliminary data we received from the Ministry of Finance, only GEL 308 million was spent from the abovementioned amount leaving GEL 197.76 million unused. The unspent resources of the programme stay within the state budget.     

Other Non-classified Activities in the Healthcare Sphere

(GEL thousand)

Programme Title

2013 Budget

Medical Activities Regulation Programme

2,711.00

Medical-Social Expertise and Control

200.00

Disease Control and Epidemiological Safety Management Programme

3,620.00

Medical Mediation Programme

502.00

Health Insurance

505,760.00

HIV/AIDS (L. Sakvarelidze National Centre for Disease Control and Public Health (LEPL))

352.00

Maternal and Child Health (L. Sakvarelidze National Centre for Disease Control and Public Health (LEPL))

385.00

Medical Examination of Citizens to Be Called Up to Military Forces

1,500.00

Rehabilitation and Equipment of Medical Facilities

15,000.00

FactCheck

inquired about the reasons why the abovementioned amount was not administered. As explained by Giorgi Gomareli, GEL 197.76 million had been saved in the framework of the Universal Health Insurance programme. The main portion of the indicated sum had been saved owing to the implementation of the programme in stages. The first stage of the programme was launched on 28 February 2013 while the full package went into force on 1 July 2013. The need for a two-stage implementation of the Universal Healthcare programme emerged by the beginning of 2013, when the budget for the year had already been planned.

As we were informed by Giorgi Gomareli, “A certain portion of the budget has been saved due to the modification of the implementation mechanism; specifically, the costs of the medical service are covered under the Universal Healthcare Programme only after the medical service has been delivered to the beneficiary. As a result, the amount foreseen for the last month remained unspent in the budget of 2013 (in other words, the costs of the medical services provided in December 2013 were reimbursed in January of 2014).”

In the state budget of 2014, a total of GEL 673.568 million was allocated for healthcare programmes. Therefore, as compared to 2013, the healthcare budget was reduced by GEL 7.645 million for 2014.

In his speech, the Minister of Finance emphasises that the scale of increase of healthcare funding witnessed in 2013 was an unprecedented event. We verified this fact as well and analysed the state budget data from 2004 to 2014. The biggest increase of the funding, as well as the volume of the healthcare budget (as compared to previous years) were observed in 2013.

  Conclusion

In the state budget of 2013, a total of GEL 681.213 million was allocated for healthcare. In 2012, this amount comprised GEL 373.383 million. Consequently, as compared to the previous year, the healthcare budget increased by GEL 307.383 million; that is, by 1.8 times. According to the data on the state budget, the biggest increase of the healthcare budget in the last ten years was observed in 2013.

In addition, it is also noteworthy that the increase of the 2013 healthcare budget was prompted by the extension of the health insurance programme, the budget of which was defined in the amount of GEL 505.760 million. However, the projected amount has not been fully employed and a total of GEL 197.76 million remained unused. Therefore, the real healthcare budget roughly saw a 1.3-fold growth and did not double as claimed by the Minister of Finance.

FactCheck concludes that the statement of the Minister of Finance: “The healthcare budget has doubled for the first time in Georgia in 2013; never before has such precedent taken place,” is HALF TRUE. Editor’s note: “The initial version of the present article was published on 22 January 2014. After publication, we received the relevant clarification from the Head of the Economic Department at the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia, Giorgi Gomareli, about the reasons for the abovementioned sum (GEL 197.76 million) being left unspent. Due to the importance of this fact, the article was revised, the verdict of FactCheck, however, remains unchanged.”

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