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Finance police uncover 'fake poor' in Veneto

Over 4,000 claimed poverty to avoid paying health care fees

12 October, 13:44
Finance police uncover 'fake poor' in Veneto (ANSA) - Venice, October 12 - Italian finance police in the northern region of Veneto discovered that over 4,000 people claiming to be poor and receiving exemptions from medical expense had sufficient income to cover their healthcare costs.

Police examined 2.2 million public hospital records in 11 provinces of the region covering the period from 2009 to 2010.

Records showed that 132,749 requests came from patients who declared poverty or unemployment, allowing them to pay little or no fee for treatments and visits.

Of these, 8,377 requests (6.31% of the total) were obtained from 4,718 'fake poor', earning an annual income well above the thresholds provided for by law in order to enjoy the benefits. Hospital spending is currently under examination throughout Italy and the government is proposing budget cuts to the system totalling 600 million euros for 2013 alone as part of the its so-called Stability Law.