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Privatisation funds to unreformed sector

SLOVAKIA's hospitals will use part of a Sk3.7 bailout package from the government to pay overdue premiums to cash-strapped social security provider Sociálna Poisťovňa, according to Health Ministry officials.

While the funds will be transferred from the FNM privatisation agency to the Health Ministry for paying down health-sector debts, neither the ministry nor the insurer has said how much will be allocated to pay back insurance premiums.

Sociálna Poisťovňa should also be receiving Sk1.6 billion in back payments from railway company ŽSR as the government pays overdue subsidies for passenger transport.

The payment of overdue premiums will be a welcome relief for the insurer, which is currently covering pension payments with resources from its sick-leave fund, though the agency has warned it will run out of internal funds to pay pensions in October or November of this year.

Critics have advised against using one-off privatisation proceeds to pay revolving debt in the unreformed health sector, which continues to spend beyond its resources.

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