Changing Bulgarian emigrants health insurance through sms - the story of a change

23. April 2010 – 11:57 by Madarász Csaba

We have not heard too much about Bulgarian e-participation cases. Not a surprise if we now understand a bit better the CEE eparticipation current state. However the case below has happened a couple of years ago, it does help to get a small imprint about how to achieve change through electronic means- particularly, if you are a Bulgarian citizen living abroad.

Starting from February 2005 Bulgarian nationals living abroad,  protested with an online petition against “the health insurance taxes
blackmail”. 10000 signatures from people living in 96 countries were collected, asking for a change the Bulgarian health insurance law. The
law disregards the fact that Bulgarian emigrants have regularly paid their health insurance contributions in their respective countries of
residence and forces them to pay this contribution in Bulgaria too.

This continued for almost 2 years before the law was changed. In January 2007 Bulgarian emigrants organized the first Bulgarian rally
in Brussels in front of the offices of the bulgarian diplomatic mission. More than 50 people came from 6 European countries to protest
against the discriminative law.

The opposition party Union of Democratic Forces finally introduced the corresponding law bill, which was rejected by the ruling Socialist
party. On 29 February 2008 MP from the ruling party received thousands of SMS from all around with the same text: Please, do not block the
bill exempting emigrants from health insurance contribution.

Messages blocked their mobile phones and the scandal became a headline news in Bulgaria.

On 27.03.2008 the Parliament amended the bill and emigrants claimed victory. Unfortunately this bill covers the period till the end of
2007 only. Starting from 2008 bulgarian emigrants have to pay again health insurance contribution, but only if they live outside the
European union.

The online petition:
In the news:

(thanks to Boyan Yurukov)

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