Health Minister Rudolf Zajac said at a recent meeting of cardiologists that although the Slovak constitution guarantees free health care, it is a luxury that "the state cannot afford".
Zajac also said that the constitutional guarantees for free health care and education included "a lot of elements from the old times" - when Slovakia was a communist state.
Zajac was nominated to the post by the ruling coalition's liberal New Citizen's Alliance (ANO). ANO chairman Pavol Rusko told the private news agency SITA, however, that his party never intended to abolish Article 40 of the Slovak constitution, which secures free health care for citizens.
After recent changes in the sector, however, Slovak patients are already paying small fees for health services, including Sk20 (€0.50) and Sk50 (€1.20) fees for drug prescriptions, doctor visits, rides in ambulances, and stays in hospital.
Rusko insisted that the party as a whole did not agree with Zajac's view.
"I consider the opinion of Mr minister to be a bit radical, to put it mildly, but he is entitled to his opinion," said Rusko.
Compiled by Martina Pisárová from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
12. Feb 2004 at 9:35