BM85: Access to the healthcare system should not be a luxury!
Article 32 of the Italian Constitution states that “The Republic shall safeguard health as a fundamental right of the individual and as a collective interest, and shall ensure free medical care to the indigent people”. It is clear that one of the pillars of the Italian Republic has always been the belief that healthcare is first and foremost a universal right, and that it’s the state’s responsibility that such a principle is guaranteed in practice. Currently, the Italian healthcare system is mostly public although with an ever growing presence of private actors. In the public system emergency care is always provided free of charge, and for other services a small fee may be required.
On the other hand, in the recent years there has been a clearly insufficient commitment by the different Italian governments towards making a serious investment for the survival and future sustainability of the national healthcare system. UDU has always called upon decision-makers to provide the adequate funding for the right of healthcare to be ensured, with a particular focus on students. Therefore, additional cuts are certainly not an acceptable option.
In this context, non-EU students who decide to move to Italy to pursue their studies are required to either register with the national healthcare system or to stipulate a private insurance policy. For those who opt for the first choice, an annual registration fee is required (see legislative decree n. 160 of 3 October 2008). Until today, the precise amount (for students without an extra job) was determined to be 149,77 euros.
With the press release n. 54 of 16 October 2023 announcing the budget law, the Italian government has stated its willingness to raise the yearly fee for all those people who decide to sign up to the national healthcare system. In particular, starting from 2024 the minimum amount for non-EU students will be set to 700 euros. Such an increase shows a clear lack of care and sensibility towards international students and it undoubtedly makes it more difficult for them to pursue studying despite the rising living costs.
As Unione degli Universitari, together with the European Students’ Union, we strongly oppose this change proposed in the budget law for 2024 and we ask:
- the Italian government to review the proposal and withdraw it, so that international students continue to be guaranteed an affordable access to the national healthcare system;
- all political parties in the Italian Parliament to propose amendments to that specific point, in order to prevent a limited access to healthcare for international students.
Healthcare is a universal right and the problems and the definancing of the Italian healthcare system should not be paid for by international students.
Seconders: FEF, ANOSR, ÖH, ANSA, FEF, UNEL, LSA