Palma.—A survey carried out in Palma on what people think about the regional government's decision to introduce a health tax has shown that although residents understand the move in the context of economic crisis, concern was rife over the fact that it may well penalise the chronically ill and those who can least afford increased charges.

From the beginning of next month, the price of petrol will go up even further, charges will be imposed on new public health system(Ib-Salut) cards, and pharmaceutical items will cease to be free to those who were previously eligible. The move is to raise fresh taxes to counterbalance the savage budget cuts which have been made in funding the health system. Those taking part in the survey said that people who need medicines every day and are on minimal incomes will be penalised the most.

The answers of people taking part in surveys carried out at chemists around Palma, depended on their income. Those earning 1'000 euros a month or more were happy to pay the tax whilst those with 800 euros or less said it was absurd to assign medical treatment, particularly long term, which patients couldn't pay for.

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