Czech Health Minister Tomas Julinek wants patients to pay fees for drugs, doctor appointments and hospital stays beginning next year to limit abuse and waste in the health-care system.
Julinek also revealed a plan to transform health insurers into joint-stock companies to spur competition and to create an independent panel to oversee the insurers, he said at a press conference in Prague yesterday. Patients will also be guaranteed certain standards and rights, the minister said. The $9 billion state health-care industry, which lacks a system of control and private funds, has been generating losses, repeatedly requiring ad hoc injections from the state budget. A plan to reverse that trend by the government, which won parliamentary approval only a month ago, may be foiled by its fragile majority in parliament. „Our goals is to react to general problems in the health care and to make amends to certain non-activity in the past eight years,” said Julinek. „Steps of a standard, routine nature must necessarily go hand-in-hand with reform measures.” The government aims to impose a 50 koruna ($2.30) fee for visiting specialists, the same fee for every day spent in a hospital and a 20 koruna prescription fee, Julinek said. A new law on emergency health aid that will ensure every citizen is helped within 15 minutes of notice will be also drafted, according to the minister. (Bloomberg)