IN SHORT

Healthcare reform bills go to second round

THE SLOVAK Parliament voted on May 26 to send six bills on healthcare reform through to a second reading, with the minority government getting the necessary support of nine independent lawmakers, the news agency TASR wrote.

Opposed to the bills were the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia, Smer, and Communist opposition parties. Also against the bills was the Free Forum opposition party, a group of MPs that split from Premier Mikuláš Dzurinda's Slovak Democratic and Christian Union last year.

Health Minister Rudolf Zajac welcomed the outcome, saying MPs had given the health sector a "chance to improve." One of the bills lists around 6,000 conditions whose treatment cost is covered by public health insurers, while another institutes a new system of mandatory and voluntary health insurance.

A third bill provides for the regulation and supervision of public health insurers, their transformation into joint-stock companies, and the creation of the Office for the Supervision of Healthcare.

Another of the six bills lays the groundwork for transforming state medical facilities into joint-stock companies.

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