THE Minister for Health and Consumer Affairs, Aina Castillo, yesterday asked her central government equivalent, Elena Salgado, to compensate the Balearic Islands for the health costs of the floating population from the Cohesion Fund. In 2004 the Health Ministry only received 1.6 million euros to compensate for the pressure that the tourists, seasonal foreign workers and immigrants place on the health system. It is in fact estimated that 18-20 million euros is needed to fund these transitory residents.
The Health Minister attended the Commission for Health where all the other regional Health Ministers attended to discuss this matter. At this meeting, she highlighted the fact that the Balearic Islands received less in 2004 than in 2003, even though there was a clear and noticeable increase in the floating population. Last year the islands were the second European region with the biggest proportion of foreigners, she added.
The Sanitary Cohesion Fund is a fixed financial model which the central Government uses to ensure that there are no inequalities in the health system throughout Spain. The Balearic Islands only receive compensation for the health expenditures that are made for foreign tourists, and in total receive less than 50 percent of these costs. Castillo is asking the central government to compensate the islands for all the other extra costs, such as attending national tourists and also for all the health costs that are incurred on behalf of the immigrants.