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Hungarian coalition parties reach agreement on healthcare reform - extended

History

Hungary’s two ruling coalition parties struck a deal late Monday to reform the nation’s healthcare system following months of squabbling.

“A political agreement has been reached on health insurance,” MTI news agency quoted Mihály Kökény, an MP from the senior coalition Hungarian Socialist Party, as saying. The Socialists and liberal junior member Alliance of Free Democrats had been at loggerheads for months over how to allow private insurers to compete within the system while still keeping a role for the state health insurer. Under the new agreement, insurance funds will be set up in 18 of Hungary’s counties, with an additional four being created in Pest County and the capital Budapest.

Lawmakers will submit a bill by the end of next month to set up 22 health-insurance funds that will be assigned to specific regions and will be allowed to compete for patients in each other’s territories, the governing Socialist Party said on its Web site. The state will keep a 51% stake in the funds and offer the rest to private companies. Companies that buy stakes in the funds will have management rights aimed at preventing overspending, said Péter Mihályi, an adviser to Health Minister Ágnes Horváth. The current agreement doesn’t offer investment guarantees for insurers, he said to Bloomberg. 

Insurance reform is the latest phase in healthcare reform, which has seen hospital beds closed as well as payments introduced for visits to the doctor and for hospital stays. The healthcare reform has proven to be the most controversial of a series of wider reforms introduced by the government to cut its budget deficit, which at 9.2% of GDP in 2006 was the highest in the EU. (digitaljournal.com)

 

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