Zeman vetoes amendment to cut state payments to health sector

President Miloš Zeman vetoed an amendment on Monday to cut state payments to the health sector this year. The government hoped to save CZK 14 billion in the state budget with this amendment, but Mr. Zeman criticized it, saying it will have a negative impact on the quality and availability of health care.

Ministers defended the law, saying it would not jeopardize care, as state health insurance made a profit of six billion crowns in the first half of this year and account balances of almost 60 billion – although more than expected in the economic forecast – and that the change is set in such a way that a decrease in payments from one year to the next will not be possible. The amendment includes a clause that from 2024, state payments to the health sector should increase in line with inflation and half of real wage growth.

A coalition majority in the House of Representatives can override a presidential veto, which is likely to happen, as House Speaker Markéta Pekarová Adamová, Health Ministry spokesperson Ondřej Jakob and Minister of Finance Zbyněk Stanjura either at the Czech Press Agency or on Twitter.

The state pays insurance premiums from the budget for about 5.9 million people, or almost 56% of the population. These are mainly children, the elderly and the unemployed. These payments account for about a quarter of public health insurance revenue, while more than half is spent on hospital care.

Berta D. Wells