June 15, 2008

Czech Greens Threaten to Quit Coalition If Premier Breaks Promise on Hospitals

Text of report in English by Czech national public-service news agency CTK

Kolin, Central Bohemia, 14 June: The Czech junior ruling Greens (SZ) might leave the coalition if PM Mirek Topolanek did not fulfil his promise that teaching hospitals would not be transformed into joint-stock companies, SZ national council decided today, its head Olga Zubova said.

Topolanek (Civic Democrats, ODS) promised in the Chamber of Deputies last week that neither the government nor the Health Ministry would decide on the teaching hospitals' transformation.

The Greens broader leadership would also like to exempt more groups from health care fees than the coalition agreement plans, Zubova and council deputy head Matej Stropnicky told reporters during the council meeting.

The government coalition of the ODS, the Christian Democrat (KDU- CSL) and the Greens agreed to abolish health care fees for new-born babies and gradually also for kids under six. Moreover,

it would lower the 5000-crown annual limit for the fees and cash payments for medicines to 3000 crown for children under 15.

The lower house is to debate the fees for new-born babies next week.

Since January, Czechs have paid 30 crowns per visit to a doctor and per item on a prescription, 90 crowns for after hours and 60 crowns per day in hospital.

($1=15.775 crowns)

Originally published by CTK news agency, Prague, in English 1642 14 Jun 08.

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