Nemokamos medicinos pagalbos teikimo konstitucinės garantijos
The theoretical and practical issues of free medical aid are currently very relevant, considering the increasing need for health care services and limited resources. This paper analyzes the nature of constitutional guarantees of providing free legal aid in Lithuania and the content and peculiarities of these guarantees in the current constitutional doctrine. The ruling of the Constitutional Court of 16 May, 2013 is a very important source in this regard, because it explains the norm of Article 53 part 1 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania. The paper established that the right to free medical aid includes these rights guaranteed by the Constitution: the right to the medical aid necessary for life and the right to other health care services. These rights are closely interconnected with every individual’s human right to have good health, right to life and human dignity. It has been clarified that the constitutional doctrine reveals the concept of the right to free medical aid through these seven features: 1. Nationality; 2. The aid is free of charge; 3. The aid’s significance for life; 4. The aid’s timeliness; 5. The aid’s quality; 6. The state’s status of the health care institution; 7. The budget financing. The Constitutional Court has confirmed that the medical aid that is necessary for life (at least the minimal aid) must be provided in a timely manner, it must be of good quality, provided to all persons within the jurisdiction of the Republic of Lithuania and funded from the state’s budget. The new position is that the services of necessary aid, which are funded by the state’s budget funds, can be provided by private health care institutions only in exceptional situations. These aspects will have to be implemented by the relevant legislation of the Republic of Lithuanian in the near future. Analysis of the constitutional guarantees of Lithuanian nationals and other persons on receiving health care services, which are not considered as necessary medical aid, showed that compulsory health insurance in the constitutional doctrine is seen as the necessary system of funding health care services by public funds. The system is based on societal solidarity and allows ensuring sufficient accessibility of health care services. The current legal regulation lacks clarity, therefore, the paper offers setting clear limits of providing medical aid and, specifically, establishing the medical aid services that are not necessary for life and must be funded from the compulsory health insurance fund. It is also suggested to stipulate clearly, which health care services persons can receive, provided that they save the funds in voluntary health care fund (which practically does not function in Lithuania to this date), or otherwise they pay from their own funds to the health care institution. Each procedure for providing and paying for health care services must be regulated at the statutory level, considering the fundamental human right to life and good health.
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