#11 - JRL 7059
RUSSIA TO CLING TO FREE EDUCATION, HEALTH SERVICE: PUTIN
PARIS, February 11. /RIA Novosti/ - Russia will certainly retain free tuition and medical treatment, with an emphasis on low-income persons, while paid services are progressing for clients who can afford it, President Putin said to a Big Biz audience in Paris tonight.
Russia inherited its social welfare from the Soviet Union to come to grips with financing hardships-a problem which inevitably arises with all free arrangements.
There is a wise way to cope with the problem-to make government allocations to schools and hospitals proportional to the amount and quality of their services.
President Putin acknowledged low public incomes among Russian problems-but then, real incomes are steadily increasing, so there is hope.
As for pensions, the country is shifting to accumulation patterns with a recently passed legislative package for a pension reform, he said.