Pension Fund chief informs Putin on medicare

On Thursday, Mikhail Zurabov, head of the Russian Pension Fund, informed Russian President Vladimir Putin of the work done on an experiment to improve the provision of medical service to the elderly.

The problem was discussed at a recent visiting session of the State Council presidium in Tambov in heartland Russia. Agreement was then reached on specific steps to be taken in this direction. "How is it going?" the president inquired.

Since May 1st, this year, the Pension Fund launched the experiment in one, so far, federation constituent - the Belgorod region (central Russia), said Zurabov. The region "has found how many pensioners it has precisely" and then 13.1 million roubles have been transferred from the federal budget (1 dollar approximately equals 30 roubles). In addition, the regional budget has given another 9 million roubles for these ends. Within the experiment, medical care for pensioners is to be funded 50 percent from the federal and 50 percent from the regional budgets.

Putin wondered if monitoring was being done and if the experiment had "improved pensioners' living standards," or if figures alone had improved. Zurabov told him a follow-up telephone help-line had been set up in the region.

Asked by the president, Zurabov informed him also of how "the Pension Fund is building relations with the obligatory pension insurance system".

Putin wondered whether fears had come true that "money may be dissolved in the common boiler of medical institutions" instead of being used as it should. The opinion of the experiment is only laudatory, Zurabov said. What's more, the program "disciplines execution of law" and encourages regions to work better in this direction, he said.

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