Despite the ruling by the Constitutional Court, Ukraine’s government refuses to restore benefits for those affected by the Chornobyl disaster, and the start of the second stage of healthcare reform also deprived many of them of ability to receive medical care. This was stated by OPPOSITION PLATFORM – FOR LIFE MP Serhiy Lovochkin on the eve of the 34th anniversary of the Chornobyl disaster.

“One of the key tasks of OPPOSITION PLATFORM – FOR LIFE is to make the government abide by the ruling of the Constitutional Court that restored social benefits for those affected by the disaster. The ruling was made back in 2018 upon our proposal, but both the old and the new governments fail to budget relevant funding for this purpose,” the politician said.

In addition, he says, the 2020 budget sees even smaller amount of funds allocated for social protection programs for Chornobyl victims. Their housing and cancer treatment budget programs have not been restored (by 2014, they had been funded at a total of 80 million hryvnias, and this amount should have been 2.6 times larger given inflation rate over seven years).

Even the remaining programs for social protection of Chornobyl veterans are not only cut but also underfunded, the MP says. The social protection program for those affected by the disaster was underfunded by 17 percent (38mln hryvnia) in January-February 2020, and the new budget program of additional payments for the same category of citizens (worth 103.5mln hryvnia) was not funded at all in the same period.

“As the second stage of the healthcare reform launches, the situation with availability and quality of healthcare for Chornobyl victims aggravates as well. They risk being left without free medical care. Not all clinics that monitor and treat this category of population signed the contracts with the National Health Service, which means that funding problems are inevitable. But even those that did will not be able to provide complete treatment since not all the services needed by the Chornobyl victims are listed as free,” Lovochkin said.

Another problem is providing Chornobyl-affected citizens with subsidized medicines: there is a lack of free drugs, but reimbursement does not cover all the medicines they might need.

“The government has forgotten that it’s responsible for those affected by the Chornobyl disaster. The task of the OPPOSITION PLATFORM – FOR LIFE is to give these people back what has been taken away from them,” the MP said.