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Parliament overrides Kiska veto of fees at doctor's offices

PARLIAMENT overrode President Andrej Kiska’s veto on a bill that seeks to do away with fees for priority appointment at a doctor's office on March 11.    

Health Minister Viliam Čislák(Source: TASR)

As Kiska referred the bill back to parliament “as a whole”, the legislators could make no more changes to the legislation, the TASR newswire wrote. Instead, they were only able to approve the bill again or not. 

“Sending the bill back to parliament provides room for professional discussion and reconsideration of all aspects of the bill in such a way that the final solution would be advantageous for all parties interested,” Kiska said as an explanation of his veto early in March. He also argued, as quoted by the SITA newswire, that the draft bill lacked a proper analysis, financial impact and some provisions are unclear.

Work on the amendment took two years, and it will introduce clarity to fees at doctor’s offices, Health Minister Viliam Čislák said on March 11. “I want to emphasise that we’ve drawn up this bill based on input and requests from patients, minister said. “They wanted to be clear on fees, on what they are and aren't supposed to pay for. I take exception to the patient’s being a hostage between a health insurer and a care provider." 

The governing Smer party is now reluctant to admit it has erred in introducing the bill, independent MP Viliam Novotný said. “The bill was designed to bring order into the fees, yet it results in an even bigger chaos. It’s not scrapping fees, it’s just changing their names," he said, as quoted by TASR.

Under the bill, administrative fees such as those for prescriptions and filling out sick leaves for patients would be banned. It was the cancellation of the fee for fixed-term, priority appointments in particular that has stirred up public discontent because many patients have availed themselves of this option, as opposed to showing up at offices and waiting.

Analysts at the INEKO think-tank and Health Policy Institute opined for the Sme daily that these fees will probably continue to be paid – but rather unofficially.

Topic: Health care


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