The project seeking the re-introduction of a single payer state-sponsored health insurance system which should have been in place this year has been put on halt, Health Minister Zuzana Zvolenská reported to the government at its regular session on February 12. The report was acknowledged by the government later in the day.

“Due to the financial aspects of the project of the introduction of the unitary public health care system, the Health Ministry won’t make any further steps within the project until the Finance Ministry verifies the readiness of Slovakia in terms of sufficient financial resources," reads the report drafted by the Health Ministry.

“As the manager of the state treasury I have to say today that we do not have the money for it,” Finance Minister Peter Kažimír said, as quoted by the SITA newswire, following the government session. He reminded that the state plans to gain resources for the project from the sale of its stake in the Slovak Telekom company. The minister did not comment on the specific amount needed for the introduction of a single health insurance company.

The government-approved project counted on the introduction of the unitary system as of the beginning of 2014 - if the state reaches an agreement with the stakeholders of the two existing private health insurers (Dôvera and Union). Otherwise, the government was planning to resort to expropriation of the two, with the introduction subsequently rescheduled for July 2014.

Despite the delays that occurred in the process, Zvolenská last year stated that the ministry would do its utmost to stick to the deadlines. However, she conceded towards the end of 2013 that though the project is ready, the ministry cannot go on with its implementation until the state acquires enough financial resources.

Health Insurers’ Association (ZZP) welcomes the fact that the project of unitary health insurance system was put on hold.

“We consider government’s decision not to waste taxpayers’ money on a project that wouldn’t bring savings in health care to be correct,” ZZP President Katarína Kafková told TASR. “Taking into consideration the state of the national budget and Slovak international obligations, it is also the only possible solution.”

(Source: TASR, SITA)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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