PASOK Rejects Its Own 5-Euro Clinic Fee

ATHENS – The PASOK Socialists, who are a partner in Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ coalition government, are protesting plans to implement a five euro admission fee for clinics – which they sponsored.

They are criticizing Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis, from the ruling New Democracy Conservatives, who had to withdraw a 25 euro hospital admission fee after being blistered by critics, and who now is trying to defend the five euro fee for clients of revamped state clinics.

PASOK joined other political parties in opposing the fee that will be charged for admission to polyclinics in the country’s new Primary National Healthcare Network (PEDY) that’s replacing countrywide clinics that have been shut down in the meantime.

Legislation introducing the fee for admission to state hospitals was drawn up and voted through Parliament in 2011, under the government of former PASOK George Papandreou, Georgiadis claimed in televised comments.

“It wasn’t me that legislated any 5-euro fee,” he said. “It was pure green PASOK, a pure PASOK government,” he said, referring to the color of the Socialist party’s logo. PASOK, disappearing in the polls in the face of anger over austerity measures and health care cutbacks, is trying to distance itself from the fee it imposed and for which it’s now blaming New Democracy.

The minister’s reaction followed a statement by PASOK describing the imposition of a 5-euro fee for polyclinic admission as “sudden and rash” and “confusing” for citizens although three years ago when the Socialists tried to implement the fee they said it was necessary to combat the fiscal crisis. Now they say it’s not.