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NEWS BRIEFS

Health reform a hot issue

THE SLOVAK Medical Chamber (SLK) called on the government to withdraw six bills on health reform whose second reading in parliament is due this fall, the state-run news agency TASR reported.

The SLK would like to see a public discussion on the issue, and is supported by another 13 health organisations, SLK Chairman Milan Dragula said on August 24.

According to the critics, the health reform prepared by Health Minister Rudolf Zajac favours the interests of "new privatisers" rather than the interests of patients.

The SLK also objects to the proposed transformation of health insurers into joint-stock companies permitted to conduct other business activities.

All four coalition parties have expressed their political support for the Health Ministry's reform. Zajac, however, will have to convince some of the opposition or independent MPs to support his bills as the ruling parties lost their majority in parliament at the end of last year and efforts to regain it have so far failed.

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