The Georgian government is now providing state-funded healthcare for roughly 90 percent of the country’s 4.5 million people. But economic experts in Tbilisi wonder whether the state’s efforts to provide universal healthcare are stressing the treasury.
“The reform is very important as for the first time since the collapse of the Soviet Union, it recognizes the collective social right of access to healthcare,” said Givi Javashvili, an associate professor of family medicine at Tbilisi State Medical University, and the director of Patients’ Rights, a non-profit advocacy group.
Following the Soviet Union’s implosion in 1991, Georgia, like other former Soviet republics, could no longer afford a Soviet-style, cradle-to-grave healthcare system. Since then, Georgia has been on a quest to build a new healthcare model that provides wide coverage. It has been a rocky road.
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Monica Ellena is a Tbilisi-based freelance journalist.