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 ČislákHealth 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.

Get daily Slovak news directly to your inbox

Theme: Health care

Read more articles by the topic

Top stories

Dozens of people die of COVID every day. A drop not expected for at least two weeks

People who would otherwise survive may die of other serious diagnoses due to the epidemic.

Illustrative stock photo

News digest: Pilot testing deemed successful

Coronavirus affects bus connections, gastronomy businesses send an open letter to the prime minister. Take a look at the latest in our news digest.

PM Igor Matovič presents the results of the pilot nationwide testing on October 26.

Slovakia orders a curfew and embarks on its COVID experiment

High turnout in testing in four northern districts, decision awaited on extending the project to the nation. Prison for a prominent prosecutor and parliament's speaker injured.

Waiting for the results of COVID tests during the pilot phase of the nationwide testing in the town of Nižná in Orava, northern Slovakia.