Bulgaria: New Rule Will Restrict Access to Drivers' Licenses for People with Certain Medical Problems

The Ministry of Healthcare is pushing forward changes to a 2011 rule that prevents certain individuals from acquiring or renewing their drivers' licenses. The new changes will now apply to a vast group of people with particular medical conditions - diabetes and cardiovascular problems.

Although experts and authors of the change claim it is aimed at people with a heavy form of their condition, many are worried that this is still a loose definition. The change foresees that endocrinologists and cardiologists will be in charge of making the call. This very specific rule alone will cost Bulgarians up to 100 million BGN. Why? Because the rule foresees one visit per trimester and patients are usually allowed a limited amount of referrals to specialists by their GPs. 

How many people will be affected by that change? Well - many. There are officially around two million Bulgarians who have cardiovascular problems - high blood pressure etc. When we add that to the 500 000 people with diabetes we get almost half of the country's population. It is also worthwhile considering the different types of diabetes - type I and type II - one requires a regular (daily) dose of tablets and the other requires treatment with insulin injections. Currently, there are 70 000 Bulgarians who fall in the second category. 

Not only will this cost the tax-payers a lot but it will basically mean that people would be paying for oppression against their fellow countrymen. Imagine having a relative with diabetes or problematic blood pressure - your taxes will be ultimately used to oppress them. There are, of course, many kinds of discrimination people with diabetes face - they can't withdraw credits or have life insurance because of diabetes being a liability. One can, naturally, make the case that private companies can do as they please - but when it comes to the government - the people collecting your taxes - it is not only a matter of bad taste - it's disgraceful. 

Vasil Manev
Vasil Manev is a student in Computer Science and an aspiring columnist, studying in Heidelberg, Germany.