A review of health financing reforms in the Republic of Moldova
In the context of global efforts to move towards universal coverage in health systems, this report reviews health financing reforms in the Republic of Moldova and looks in particular at how the population´s access to health services has been affected. In 2004, as has been widely documented elsewhere, wholesale reforms were made to the way in which government funds were used to fund health services, shifting the system overnight from a highly fragmented and inflexible one, to one in which funds for the health sector were pooled nationally, allowing improved risk-sharing as a result of greater flexibility to allocate funds in line with health needs. A new source of funding in the form of a payroll tax for health was also introduced directly leading to a growth in total levels of government health spending. A second phase of reforms starting in 2009 addressed the issue of gaps in population coverage under mandatory health insurance, with legislative measures taken to ensure that all citizens of Moldova had access to primary health care, and to ensure that the poor receive subsidized health insurance. Fiscal constraints have limited the full implementation of these reforms however. Moldova has shown that it is prepared to tackle difficult policy issues head on and has articulated clear goals for the sector. In particular, the Roadmap “Accelerating Reforms: addressing the needs of the health area through investment policies” approved on 1 March 2012, lays a clear agenda for the next phase or priority reforms focusing on principally on service delivery reorganization but also on health financing. This is the correct focus given that progress on a number of priority indicators such as equity in access to services and financial protection has been limited in recent years. This report summarizes the main impact of health financing reforms to date and agrees with the Roadmap about the major challenges for the coming decade, in particular the need to address inefficiencies in service delivery, but also to ensure that the close link between guaranteed benefits and available funding is maintained in future policy decisions.