Romanian PM: Patients to pay fee for hospital stay

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Romania's prime minister says hospital patients will pay for treatment as part of an agreement with the International Monetary Fund to reduce spending in the state health sector.

The fee will be introduced in March.

Prime Minister Victor Ponta says the fee "will be low, and patients will pay only after a hospital stay."

"It will be a small sum, not for medical tests, not for emergency cases, just for those who are hospitalized," Ponta said Monday.

Romania spends just 4.4 percent of its gross domestic product on health, a lower percentage than neighboring countries and less than half the proportion that that France spends.

The Medics' College says the measure will not resolve ongoing problems. Romania undertook huge spending cuts after took a €20 billion ($26 billion) bailout loan from the IMF in 2009.

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