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Government approves healthcare reform bill

The government has approved a healthcare reform bill which would introduce fees for doctor visits and define service packages, Health Minister Lajos Molnár said after a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

The bill would introduce a Ft 300 fee for doctor visits from 2007. The fee is expected to generate an annual Ft 30 billion, which will be available for hospitals to spend. "The new law, by introducing a token fee, makes it clear that healthcare services are not for free," the Health Ministry said in a statement. Molnár said the law would define three service packages to increase transparency of financing and services. The basic package, which includes emergency care and mandatory vaccinations, will be available to everybody, while the second level of health services will be available only to those who pay contributions into the state social fund. The third package will be supplementary, containing services such as a single room in a hospital, for which patients will have to pay additional fees. (Mti-Eco)