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“Happy Autumn with Good Health” – Greece’s Insured Patients Have to Pay for Medicine and Visits to Doctors

“Happy Autumn with Good Health” This should be the wish exchange among Greeks, as September begins with troubles for the already troubled and austerity-hit patients. As if income decreases weren’t enough, now insured patients will have to pay from their own pockets for prescription medicine and visits to doctors. Pharmacists and assigned private doctors protest payment delays by the country’s National Organization for Healthcare Provision (EOPYY).  And the patients became prey between health workers forgetting their Hippocratic Oath and a bankrupt state.

As of today, September 1st, pharmacists cut credits to insured patients. The patient will have to pay for prescription medicine and request the amount from his insurance fund. The money is not expected to be redeemed before two or three months later. A nightmare for chronic-ill and low-income pensioners.

As of Monday, September 3rd, private doctors in cooperation with EOPYY will charge up to 20 euros per visit to insured patients, who will again will have to request the money from EOPYY.

While the doctors’ protest apparently will last until Friday (Sept 7/2012), it is not clear, how long the pharmacists will keep asking cash from the patients.

Getting Rid of The Greek Patient

No wonder, thousands of patients literally rushed to doctors and pharmacies during the last two days in order to prevent their health care big bang.

According to Greek media, data showed that 270,000 electronic prescriptions were issued by doctors during last Tuesday alone, while pharmacists delivered medicine for 320,000 prescriptions.

Thursday’s peak occurred between 10 am and 11 am with 1,250 electronic prescriptions to be filed per minute.

Unable to efficiently cope with the issue and the outstanding debts to doctors and pharmacists, EOPYY sent the message, that it will stop the cooperation with doctors who ask money from insured patients and that it will preferentially pay first those pharmacists who do not refuse prescription medicine on credit.

Athens Medical Doctors Association warns that things will get worse, claiming that “it is clear, EOPYY will stop paying its debts within  autumn 2012.”

It is the third time in less than a year that pharmacists stop giving prescription medicine on credit. For a chronic-ill patient, it means  250-300 euro per month from the own pocket. Cancer patients wish, they were born in another country.

Who cares? I guess, nobody…


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  1. By what right does the Greek government allow this? Why does my wife have to pay her IKA if her health bills are not paid ? Why does the Greek government make pensioners pay tax on the pensions that have already been taxed when the money was paid in? Easy to answer, because the various “Governments” have been using these funds to fill other black holes. This situation will not only drive this beautiful country into a deep, dark recession but will also lead eventually to civil war. There is only ONE chance for Greece & that is to get out of the Euro and the European Union. I feel disgusted that we have here a situation that allows for Garlic from China and other fruits from countries that are not in the EU to be sold in our super markets. My God does Greece have nothing that it produces except unemployment ? It is disgusting that none of the A****les in power have the “Balls” to stand up and name the solution ! It is even more disgusting that the Greek people have failed to see this & get rid of the vampires that are sucking the blood of the people.
    People are starving, living on the streets and the Greek government no longer has its “finger on the pulse” of the situation here. Reminds me of the situation before the French revolution ‘Qu’ils mangent de la brioche’ and we all know what happened after that…..Is it only a matter of time that heads will then role again ?

    • The problems and unsufficiences are systemic here and certainly due to local nomenclatura. Whether in or outside the euro, if mentality won’t change… we would even use “Anti-Euro” as national currency, nothing will change.

    • @David Stone. You are indeed right, this should not be happening, and it is happening because the money put in by amongst others your wife has literally be stolen to pay the banks and bond holders. But there is more.

      Since Greece joined the EU, it went from virtually 100% self sufficiency in food supply to importing something like 60% of its food needs. Leaving the EU is throwing away the baby with the bath water. Reforming the EU to become the equal organization it is supposed to be is the answer. And that is done from within, not from the side lines.
      Funny that you mention Chinese Garlic. In Ireland, Paul Begley, a Fruit & Veg importer is doing 6 years for tax evasion because he imported Chinese Garlic but declared it as apples. The difference? Import tax on Garlic = 232%, import tax on apples is 6% (I think). The rules are there to protect EU growers. These taxes are set by the EU! As long as there are taxes, there will be people trying to avoid them. That is indeed a matter of reform and change of mentality.
      However, there is indeed nobody stopping supermarkets selling heavily EU subsidized Dutch grown tomatoes in Greek supermarkets….

      If you have the stomach for it, have a good read of this

      “The Best Democracy Money can Buy” Greg Pallast.
      You can download it from here

      It is one of the reforms that need making world-wide. There should be a world-wide ban on trading food as a commodity (As there should be a world wide ban on trading in money itself as a commodity). In 2010 Goldman Sachs made over 1 billion profit just by gambling on the price of food. Barclay’s Capital made over 540 million on the same gamble in the same year.
      By doing so, they pushed the price of food up by over 30% compared to the food prices in 2008, and over a 10 year period (2000 – 2010) these vultures pushed the food price up by just under 100%.
      The result of there gambling was that in 2010 alone over 44 million people were pushed into food poverty. Mainly in North Africa and the Middle East. Quite a few of these people end up in Greece as “illegal immigrants”….

      Yes, the various Greek puppet shows as of late have indeed not done anything for the people of this country. Neither have the puppet shows in Spain, Ireland, Portugal etc. done anything for their people. Because that is exactly what they are. Puppet shows acting out the play of government. The real culprits are the puppet masters, and they are the ones that need to be stopped and put out of business. No bonus points for guessing who they are.

  2. You are a little confused regarding taxes by the looks of it (which is the whole idea. If people actually realized how much they are getting fleeced for, we would have a revolution yesterday 🙂 )

    The production of garlic (Allium sativum L.) in Europe is concentrated in the Mediterranean countries. The price of European garlic is high, especially in comparison with Chinese garlic. This price difference could severely threaten the European garlic growers if there was a free market in Europe for garlic. However, to protect the European garlic growers the European Commission issued in 1993 a regulation that only 12000 tons of Chinese garlic can be imported annually.

    Once this Chinese garlic hits the EU, an import duty of 232% is slapped on to it. Then everybody involved adds their margins, and in the end, in Greece, the government does indeed slap another 23% VAT on it again (so you do indeed pay VAT on an EU imposed tax…)

    And here is the latest on the Great Garlic rip-off (2011)

    And as a little side note; here we are discussing and complaining about the price of Garlic. Now, put yourself in Africa/Middle East with Wheat being your main food product, and some shit-head in government or a foreign bank starts playing games with the price of Wheat in a similar way…

    • certainly prices are dangerously up for other and more important basic food items. like wheat. I don’t complain about the high garlic price, I just wonder.
      BTW: we could start the Garlic-Revolution to get rid of blood-sucking vampires. We eat lots of garlic and exhale our stinking breath right to the faces of EU, IMF and ECB officials. It’s not violent revolution but equally leathal.

  3. I’m all for it, count me in. Move over Buffy, here comes Ephilant the Vampire Slayer! Other than at least my daily 4 cups of “tea” for breakfast :), I also consume a good bit of garlic, and as I grow my own, the Great Garlic Sting doesn’t really affect me.
    What would not be a bad idea though is a handy tips and tricks category for people to grow their own stuff. It is absolutely amazing what you can grow in containers on a balcony in central Athens.
    Given that people are going to be hit for more again, they can use every bit of help and assistance they can get.

    • great to have at least one supporter. We are two, now! I used to plant tomatoes, peppers, aubergines, (tried also with cucumbers & zucchini) and many herbs on my balcony, but this year – amid the crisis- I didn’t. Too many other issues to deal with. However, I do not know what’s the real profit for a consumer growing very limited quantity of vegetables on a balcony.

  4. If you grow food as a hobby, then there is indeed little else than the simple pleasure of doing it to be had from it.
    But if money is that scarce that obtaining food through the normal channels becomes a problem, then the growing of food is not a hobby anymore, it’s a necessity. Especially given the prices as they are.
    Cities are in reality a collection of smaller communities living in very close proximity to each other. It can be an area, or a smaller section of a few streets, or even just a block of flats.
    I have never understood why people in such a small community can’t band together ( and not just in times of trouble!) and help each other out. Growing food is part of that.
    Ok, I don’t have just a balcony, I am blessed with a little garden, roughly 8 x 8 m. That little peace of Mother Earth supplies me for all my requirements for veg and potatoes for 10 months of the year, with surplus. And I have pots full of herbs, chillies, aubergines, peppers, etc. everywhere, so they don’t take up space in the garden.

    If you are not working, isn’t it much better to be occupied on the balcony growing food than sitting inside watching the pile of bills grow and staring at the ceiling and edging closer and closer to depression?
    And isn’t it much better to go and visit your neighbour in the same boat, and help him/her out with his/her balcony, exchange ideas, grow different things and exchange the surplus?
    People contact does wonders to prevent the rampant incidences of depression these days, much more than pills do. There is a great saving to be made there and then. Forget the pills, depression is an emotion, not an illness. The pills don’t work, they just modify the behaviour displayed as a result of the emotion.
    I am serious, with a little bit of thought, creativity and perseverance, anybody can save themselves 150-200 a month, and have a much better quality of life as well.

  5. Well, I actually did the comparison. My own fruit and veg consumption, if paid for in the shop at regular prices, boils down to an average of 4.25 a day, or an average month 127.50. If some or all of my offspring decide to visit, that can easily quadruple.
    But even if you are not an enthousiastic F&V consumer like myself, and only spend half of that, it’s 60 euro you can use elsewhere. When unemployed or on no money at all, that a heck of a lot of money!

    • I see. I am not a fruit enthousiastic but more the salad-herbs-potatoes type. I think, I spend some 10 euro per week, when alone. And fruits, that are more expensive than vegetables, cannot be grown on a balcony anyway.

      • Aaarrgghhh, you are such a city slicker 🙂
        Of course you can’t grow proper apple trees etc. on your balcony. But you can grow a full years supply of potatoes and veg.
        And you can also grow every berry you can dream of, including strawberries. All you need for those is a broomstick, a little chicken wire and a big black rubbish bag. One of the many tricks to growing things on balconies!

        • I wouldn’t grow apples, because I do not like apples 🙂 I tried once with strawberries… well.. I got four and then the plant just died. My south balcony is actually good for tropical plants& fruits due to the many heat waves. I could try with bananas though. I eat one – maybe two- per year anyway.
          BTW: Friends of mine got a full oven tray with balcony potatoes. Thinking seriously to grow too in pots. if I plant them now, Xmas turkey would be surrounded with home grown potatoes. Not bad, at all 🙂

          • You really need some lessons in balcony gardening 🙂
            Maybe I’ll start a blog on it one of these days…

          • I can give you space for your own balcony gardening column/category here.

          • Ephilant is soooo right: city slicker you are! 😆
            Why not buy a turkey chick now. Grow the tomatoes. Feed the chick and have your own turkey with tomatoes at X-mas? And don’t tell me you would not dare kill the full grown turkey because you would get attached to it. 😛

          • I have a cat in total protest of living turkey/chicken/goat/sheep/cow. However she fully support a cooked one.
            BTW: am I a city slicker (although I was born % raised in the city :P) because I don’t like fruits and living turkeys on my balcony?

  6. I’ll have a good think about it over the next few days. Wouldn’t want to start something and not keep up with it.

    • that’s why I propose a column/category in “Mixed Grill” here. much easier than starting a whole blog from scratch. I’m sure KTG-readers living in Greece would appreciate during the crisis.

  7. thinking. need tea…

  8. sssstttt. Don’t be giving secrets away. We might get taxed on them 🙂

    Tax on thinking? hmmmm…