Adopted by the Parliament: free and non-discriminatory access to medical services for children without IDs

The legislative proposal that provides free access to health care services for children without identity documents, initiated by the independent member of the Parliament Oana Bîzgan was subject to vote on Wednesday, September 18, in the General Assembly – 281 votes in favour, in unanimity. The legislative proposal will be sent to the President for its enactment and to become law.

According to this initiative, all children in Romania will have free and non-discriminatory access to health services, whether they have a social security number or not. This right is already referred to in the Romanian Constitution, as well as in the legislation regarding the health and rights of the patient, but it cannot be exerted in the absence of identity documents. At the same time, through the application of the measures referred to in the legislative text proposed, representatives of the medical units will announce the social services departments empowered in the shortest time, for the start of the registration and release of a birth certificate and a social security number.

“Our intention is to reduce the number of children without a birth certificate, therefore without a social security number, as much as possible. These children are not guilty for the situation they are in, the reasons that caused these situations being diverse. Following the obtaining of the identity documents, children will be identified and will benefit of all rights offered through the Constitution, like any other citizen with legal documents.” claims MP Oana Bîzgan, the initiator of this proposal.

Among the effects the member of the Parliament who initiated this law considered, there are some that are worth mentioning: on short term, the children without IDs will be identified and will receive their paper as well as the medical care they need. On long term, the community will benefit as the risk of poverty and social exclusion, illiteracy, exposure to abuse and violence or even human trafficking will decrease.

“The legislation in force offers all children the right to free health services until the age of 18 – but actually this right cannot be exerted in the absence of personal identity documents and of the social security number”, explained Roxana Mînzatu, the current Minister of European Funds and co-initiator of this proposal.

Specifically, the proposal guarantees access to free health services for children and other people in vulnerable conditions, even if they do not possess any identity documents. Consequently, the bill proposed clarifies a series of common situations when people in the categories mentioned above could receive medical care but the costs were not settled by the National House of Health Insurances, provoking major losses to hospitals or clinics offering assistance. Among the people that would benefit from this proposal are, apart from children under 18, disabled people, patients with illnesses included in the national health programs established by the Health Ministry, pregnant women and women in the first 6-8 weeks after giving birth and people who are victims of human trafficking. These people will automatically be registered and the release process for personal identification documents will start, with the purpose of benefiting of medical services like any other legitimate citizen, in conditions stipulated by law.

The number of people without personal identification documents is still unknown, because these people do not exist, legally speaking. In 2016, the Ministry of Internal Affairs approximated that in Romania live 160,000 people without personal identification documents, among which 10,000 never had a birth certificate. The causes are multiple: either they are children whose parents do not have personal identification documents, they are abandoned children or the parents, who have personal identification documents, do not follow through the necessary process to register the birth of the children.

This initiative was signed by 160 members of the parliament, from all the political parties, being one of the multiple legislative projects proposed by independent MP Bîzgan, who has a cross-party support.

Oana Bîzgan is an independent MP and Young Global Leader, member of the Committee for Equal Opportunities for Women and Men. A series of ambitious legislative initiatives, such as the law of street harassment, the law on increasing the age at which children from the protection system are sent to live in residential centers, the punishment of moral harassment in the workplace and the provision of free education services for children without IDs, belong to her. For more information visit www.oanabizgan.com.