Health care fees do not contradict constitution, rules court

28-05-2008

Health care fees introduced by the centre-right government do not contradict the Czech constitution, the Constitutional Court ruled on Wednesday. However, a provision under which patients receive no health insurance payment for the first three days of an illness has been declared illegal. The opposition Social Democrats had taken the case, arguing that fees implemented in January were unconstitutional. Both the Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek and Health Minister Tomáš Julínek testified during the court hearing. Reacting to Wednesday’s verdict, the latter said he regarded it as a mandate to continue with the reform process.

Czechs have to pay CZK 30 (almost USD 2) per visit to the doctor’s, and twice that amount per day spent in hospital, under health reforms introduced at the start of the year. They are one plank of a broader reform programme which also takes in the social welfare and taxation systems.