AS of September, the symbol of Rudolf Zajac’s healthcare reforms, the Sk20 and Sk50 fees for medical care, will be terminated. Health Minister Ivan Valentovic has proposed that the government cancel them.
The installation of the fees was a reminder to citizens that healthcare does not come free of charge. Despite the negative emotions evoked by the fees, people got used to paying them. The payments became an important source of income for both doctors’ offices and hospitals. Ministry spokeswoman Silvia Balázsiková said that the ministry had found a way to compensate physicians for the losses, the daily SME wrote.
The minister’s new program, however, does not fundamentally change Zajac’s reforms. Individual health insurance, the restructuring of hospitals and new ways of payments between physicians and health insurers were all included in the reforms of the former government and the current ministry’s proposal does not intend to alter them.
However, according to the daily Pravda, the cabinet does plan to cancel the law demanding that state hospitals be transformed into joint-stock companies. The Health Ministry so far has refused to say how state health institutions will function since they will not be privatized. According to the daily, these hospitals might continue to function as state-subsidized institutions. While this will change nothing for the patient, hospitals could possibly continue falling further into debt.
Compiled by Marta Ďurianová from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
21. Jul 2006 at 12:49