Reforms to increase welfare in the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs’ areas of responsibility – the Budget Bill for 2021

Published

In the Budget Bill for 2021, the Government presents a range of proposals in the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs’ areas of responsibility to increase welfare in Sweden. The Government’s proposals are based on an agreement between the government parties, the Centre Party and the Liberal Party.

Reinforcement of the role of health and medical care services in civil defence

In the Budget Bill for 2021, the Government proposes an investment of SEK 442.5 million in 2021 to strengthen the capacity of health and medical care within the framework of civil defence. In 2022, SEK 593 million will be allocated and in 2023 and onwards, more than SEK 1 billion will be allocated per year. The proposal is based on an agreement between the government parties, the Centre Party and the Liberal Party.

New regulation to help patients who could not visit the dentist because of COVID-19

An adjustment to the national dental care subsidy will compensate patients who have not been able to go to the dentist during the COVID-19 pandemic. A new compensation period will start for these patients on 1 September 2020, extending for the same number of days that were lost.

Additional funding for the National Board of Health and Welfare’s emergency supplies

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Board of Health and Welfare was instructed by the Government to purchase personal protective equipment, medical devices and other equipment to secure availability in the event that the municipalities’ and regions’ own capacity is insufficient. The Government is allocating SEK 160 million in the autumn amending budget for 2020 and SEK 122 million in the Budget Bill for 2021 to the National Board of Health and Welfare to secure national supplies. This will also facilitate the Board’s inventory management of personal protective equipment, medical devices and other equipment.
 
The proposal is based on an agreement between the government parties, the Centre Party and the Liberal Party.

Additional funding for continued COVID-19 response

Efforts to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic remain a high priority for the Government.

The National Board of Health and Welfare plays a central role in the preparedness of health care and social services, and in Sweden’s management of the pandemic. The Government wants to ensure the Board’s continued and effective COVID-19 response and is allocating SEK 45 million in the Budget Bill for 2021 to the Board’s administrative appropriation for its work next year.

The Public Health Agency of Sweden is tasked with ensuring effective control of communicable diseases in Sweden, and the Agency is working intensively to manage the pandemic. The Government has allocated additional funding to the Agency in 2020 for its ongoing COVID-19 response.

The Government wants to ensure a continued and effective COVID-19 response at the Agency in 2021 as well. In the Budget Bill for 2021, the Government therefore proposes increasing the Public Health Agency’s administrative appropriation by SEK 50 million for the Agency’s response to the pandemic next year.

The proposals are based on an agreement between the government parties, the Centre Party and the Liberal Party.

The Government wants to reduce pharmaceuticals emissions

Emissions can be reduced by setting environmental standards in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals. The Government is therefore allocating SEK 5 million in 2021 to start a pilot project for an environmental premium in the pharmaceutical reimbursement system. A pilot project of this kind would give Sweden the opportunity to take a leading role in the transition to stricter environmental standards in pharmaceutical production. In 2022 and 2023, SEK 11 million and SEK 3 million, respectively, will be allocated.
 
The proposal is based on an agreement between the government parties, the Centre Party and the Liberal Party.

Special mental health function

On 30 January 2020, the Government instructed the Public Health Agency of Sweden to submit proposals on how to establish a special mental health and suicide prevention function at the Agency. It is proposed that funds to create and run this function be transferred to the Public Health Agency’s administrative appropriation to streamline the Agency’s financing. It is proposed that the Agency’s appropriation increase by SEK 10 million for this purpose. The proposal is based on an agreement between the government parties, the Centre Party and the Liberal Party.
The proposals is presented in expenditure area 9 ‘Health care, medical care and social services’.

SEK 1.5 billion to maternity care and women’s health

The Government is investing in increased access and quality in women’s health care and maternity care. In the Budget Bill for 2021, the Government proposes increasing funds to maternity care and women’s health by SEK 500 million in 2021 and estimates that SEK 500 million will be allocated in 2022. The Government’s proposal is based on an agreement between the government parties, the Centre Party and the Liberal Party.

Higher pensions and lower taxes to strengthen pensioners’ financial situation

The Government has proposed several measures in the Budget Bill to strengthen the financial position of pensioners. Pensions will be raised through a new benefit, while taxes will be further reduced for people over 65. The proposals are based on an agreement between the government parties, the Centre Party and the Liberal Party.

Stimulate and accelerate developments in the area of disabilities

The Government wants to remove obstacles to accessibility to achieve the national disability policy objective. In the Budget Bill for 2021, the Government therefore proposes allocating SEK 23 million per year to stimulate and accelerate developments in the area of disabilities.

The funds will be used to stimulate the implementation of universal design, i.e. creating more accessible solutions that work for more people, regardless of disability. Municipalities and regions are also deemed to need support in their efforts to implement disability policy. Moreover, improved statistics are needed to shed light on how the living conditions of people with disabilities are developing.

Increased security at National Board of Institutional Care homes

In the Budget Bill for 2021, the Government proposes that the National Board of Institutional Care receive an additional SEK 110 million in 2021 and an additional SEK 100 million per year after that. The Government’s proposal is based on an agreement between the government parties, the Centre Party and the Liberal Party.

SEK 100 million per year to strengthen cancer care

In the Budget Bill for 2021, the Government proposes strengthening cancer care by providing an additional SEK 100 million per year in 2021–2023. The Government’s investment to strengthen cancer care will thus amount to SEK 600 million per year from 2021 to 2023. The proposal is based on an agreement between the government parties, the Centre Party and the Liberal Party.

The Government reinforces ambulance care

Ambulance care will be made more equitable and effective throughout the country. In the Budget Bill for 2021, the Government proposes an investment of SEK 100 million to reinforce ambulance care in 2021 and equivalent amounts in 2022–2023. The Government’s proposal is based on an agreement between the government parties, the Centre Party and the Liberal Party.

Investments to increase social justice

In the Budget Bill for 2021, the Government proposes investments to increase social justice in society. These include a recovery bonus for staff in health and social care, an investment in social measures in socio-economically disadvantaged areas, higher maintenance support for single parents and increased funding for housing allowance. The Government’s proposals are based on an agreement between the government parties, the Centre Party and the Liberal Party.

Record-high rise in standard compensation provided for personal assistance

In the Budget Bill for 2021, the Government proposes that the standard amount for assistance allowance be adjusted upwards by 3.5 per cent. It is therefore proposed that the standard amount be set at SEK 315 per hour in 2021. The Government’s proposal is based on an agreement between the government parties, the Centre Party and the Liberal Party.

Increased resources to the Swedish Social Insurance Agency to reduce processing times

In order to continue the efforts under way to improve the quality and legal certainty of processing and to remedy the long processing times for care allowance for children with disabilities and compensation for additional costs, the Government proposes in the Budget Bill for 2021 that the Swedish Social Insurance Agency be allocated SEK 120 million in 2021, SEK 100 million in 2022 and SEK 80 million in 2023.

Almost SEK 1.2 billion to tackle mental ill health and strengthen psychiatric services

In the Budget Bill for 2021, the Government proposes allocating SEK 1 177.5 million in 2021 to strengthen mental health, psychiatric and suicide prevention services. An equivalent amount will be allocated in 2022. Together with previously announced allocations, this is an investment of more than SEK 2 billion in 2021. The proposal is based on an agreement between the government parties, the Centre Party and the Liberal Party.

Targeted funding for continuity of care and increased resources to primary care

In the Budget Bill for 2021, the Government proposes increasing funding to primary care and directing funding towards ensuring continuity of care. The proposals are based on an agreement between the government parties, the Centre Party and the Liberal Party.

Package of measures to combat fraud and abuse in the welfare systems

Vigorous efforts are required to combat tax fraud and abuse, and to maintain confidence in the welfare systems. The Government therefore proposes that SEK 189 million be allocated for this purpose in 2021. The proposal is based on an agreement between the Government, the Centre Party and the Liberal Party.

Subsidies for foster home placements

In the Budget Bill for 2021, the Government proposes allocating SEK 250 million per year in 2021–2022, and SEK 200 million in 2023, to a targeted government grant to Sweden’s municipalities. These funds will subsidise the cost of foster home placements. The proposal is based on an agreement between the government parties, the Centre Party and the Liberal Party.

Job stimulus measures in social assistance and investment to combat incorrect disbursements and fraud in unemployment insurance

In the Budget Bill for 2021, the Government proposes an investment of SEK 100 million as of 2022 for increased job stimulus measures in social assistance and allocating SEK 30 million to efforts to stop incorrect disbursements and fraud in unemployment insurance. The Government’s proposals are based on an agreement between the government parties, the Centre Party and the Liberal Party.

SEK 31 million to language training for staff caring for older people

Being understood is essential in order to feel safe and secure. The need to strengthen Swedish language skills among staff in care of the elderly has gained visibility during the ongoing pandemic. In the Budget Bill for 2021, the Government therefore proposes a targeted investment to improve the vocational language skills of staff in care of the elderly. The proposal is presented in expenditure area 16 ‘Education and academic research’.

SEK 4 billion to manage postponed care

To help health care services get back on track post-COVID-19, the Government proposes in the Budget Bill for 2021 that SEK 4 billion be allocated to the regions in 2021 and in 2022. The proposal is based on an agreement between the government parties, the Centre Party and the Liberal Party.

Historic budget initiative to reinforce care of the elderly

In the Budget Bill for 2021, the Government proposes additional funding of SEK 4 billion per year to Sweden’s municipalities to reinforce care of the elderly, while funding to the Care of Older People Initiative will increase by SEK 1.7 billion, to a total of SEK 3.7 billion in 2021. All in all, this is the largest investment ever in care of the elderly in Sweden.

All of the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs’ proposals are presented in expenditure area 9 ‘Health care, medical care and social services’, with the exception of: sickness insurance, which is presented in expenditure area 10 ‘Financial security for the sick and disabled’; pensions, which are presented in expenditure area 11 ‘Financial security for the elderly’; and financial support to families, which is presented in expenditure area 12 ‘Financial security for families and children’.

The proposal on language training for staff caring for older people is presented in expenditure area 16 ‘Education and university research’.