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Health insurance a casualty of Greek austerity

April 23, 2014

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece says perhaps a fifth of the country’s 10.8 million residents have lost their public health insurance, particularly families of long-term unemployed who have had state benefits withdrawn.

Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis says the uninsured are being granted free access to reformed state health clinics, where they receive primary medical care. But specialized care depends on donations from drug companies and private charities.

Georgiadis said Wednesday the government estimates that 1.9 million to 2.4 million Greeks have lost state insurance. Greek medical charities say the true figure is nearer 3 million.

Public health care has been ravaged by Greece’s financial crisis, which triggered an international bailout and a chain of deepening cuts in spending.

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