We are continuing a series of stories about the effectiveness of the health system in Latvia. In this story we analyse-- is the fight against people who don't pay taxes worth risking leaving thousands of people without state financed healthcare?
Latvian government is working on one of the biggest healthcare reforms since the country gained its independence. Healthcare Minister Circene says it will be fairer to tax payers, fight the grey economy and bring more money into the healthcare system. But doctors and the Ombudsman argue that the change will not make people healthier and leave 100,000 uninsured.
Although the number of extremely poor people in Riga has fallen since the worst point of the crisis in 2009, there is still a large number of Rigans in need of social support from local government: 63,000 people, equivalent to 9% of the city's population. Part of that number goes every day to soup kitchens that are either fully- or partly-paid-for by the municipal authorities. The recipients of these hot meals are mainly single pensioners and families on minimal incomes, according to both the statistics and students' observations.
In January 2014 Latvian and U.S. students participated in a joint project at Riga's soup kitchens to try to understand for which groups in the Latvian capital the crisis remains far from over. These clips tell the stories of 31 Rigans.
There have been a number of encounters by the Latvian media with various law enforcement authorities or people using the criminal and civil law to attempt to repress, intimidate or silence reporters, editors and bloggers.
The Estonian minister of justice pushed through a law that in theory permits the imprisonment of journalists who refuse to give up their sources, but the law has never been never used - so far.
The law enforcement attack on the BNS news agency journalists took place 11 years after the Lithuanian Constitutional Court delivered its interpretation of when a journalist must disclose a source of information. But it seems that was still too little time for interpretation to be carried over to the law.
Attempts to take an acclaimed Latvian whistleblower to court more than three years after he released embarrassing tax details of the country's elite are raising serious questions about due legal process in the Baltic state.
One in six people of economically active working age cannot find a job in Latvia, yet business owners are still complaining about labour shortages. Apparently Latvians have got used to living off welfare and this is the reason why workers have to be brought in from other countries. Re:Baltica journalists experienced what it’s like to do unskilled labour to get a deeper understanding of what is really missing in Latvia — diligent employees or good jobs?
In the absence of any official confirmation, available evidence suggests that PrivatBank could be the Latvian bank fined by the Latvian Financial and Capital Market Commission (FCMC) earlier this year for inadequate internal controls in the so-called Magnitsky case. The FCMC, however, refuses to reveal the identity of the sanctioned bank, citing the need to maintain financial stability.