Final Word from Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Germany's politicians agreed this week on a major healthcare reform for reducing waste, eliminating inefficiencies and increasing competition. Part of the plan calls for patients to pay more for drugs and to visit the doctor. Similar changes were proposed recently by the Czech health minister, Marie Součková. She wanted small co-payments for doctor visits and prescriptions, up to a maximum of Kč 2,000 per year. Above this, the state would continue to pay the bill. Součková's proposal came as a shock, because she's one of the most socialist of the cabinet ministers. However, she revealed her true motivations in MF Dnes on Sat. She merely wants to use the threat of an annual co-payment as a way to extract more money from the cabinet. She said, in fact, that it would be bad for patients to have to pay more. The leopard, it seems, has not changed its spots. deductible


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