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Health Minister Valentovič misses deadline

Health Minister Ivan Valentovič has missed his deadline for submitting a proposal for the financial recovery of the health sector.

Chairman Mikuláš Dzurinda of the opposition Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) said that Valentovič has not been able to do anything in his sector so far because Prime Minister Robert Fico has manoeuvred him into a dead-end street through his ideological assignments.

The state had been paying health insurers 1 percent extra for its policy holders until the end of April in an effort to increase the funding of the healthcare system. However, Fico rejected Valentovič's proposal to prolong this period, and decided to discuss the situation with him personally.

SDKÚ vice-chair Iveta Radičová said that the amendment to the Labour Code will bring further complications to the healthcare sector. Restrictions on working overtime will cause additional expenses worth about Sk150 million (€4.4 million) and will also considerably reduce doctors' net incomes, she said.

Dzurinda said the SDKÚ will submit its own draft sometime within the next few months. Unlike Fico, who supports the idea of a single health insurer, the SDKÚ wants to encourage competition between health insurers.

Dzurinda said the SDKÚ will not push for Valentovič's dismissal from his ministerial post, reserving this course of action "only for cases of ethical failure."

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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