An MP for the Progressive Party said in an interview this morning that it is “not a big deal” to start charging people per night for staying in a hospital.
The 2014 budget from the Progressive-Independence Party coalition includes, amongst other things, the proposal to begin charging people for every night they spend in a hospital. Until now, those requiring hospitalisation have not had to pay for the bed they slept in. It is estimated that the new law will generate 200 million ISK in revenue for the government.
Vigdís Hauksdóttir, an MP for the Progressive Party, said on the radio show Bítið this morning that charging 1,200 ISK per night in a hospital shouldn’t be a strain to anyone’s income.
“I can attest that if I had to be admitted to the hospital, just speaking for myself, I wouldn’t consider it a lot of money to pay 1,200 for each night,” she said. “It costs money to live at home, it costs me to eat at home. For the average person, with an average income, who is not often sick, it’s not a big deal to get your appendix taken out and spend three nights in the hospital and pay 3,600 ISK. No, I don’t think so.”
Oddný Harðardóttir, the former Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs for the Social Democrats, countered that the government should not be making the sickest people pay for staying in a hospital.
“I think this shows a very strange set of priorities, and I don’t think this law will pass,” she said, adding that the 200 million ISK this would generate would only be “a drop in the ocean” for what the budget needs. “That money should be going instead into the pockets of our most ill.”