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Part of tobacco tax may go to health care system

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Prague, May 17 (CTK) – A part of tobacco tax could go to the Czech healthcare system which would gain an additional 5 billion crowns annually, Health Minister Svatopluk Nemecek said after a meeting with Czech Chamber of Doctors’ (CLK) head Milan Kubek on Tuesday.

Nemecek said he will include the CLK’S proposal in the crisis plan which Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has assigned him to draft by the end of May.

Kubek, however, criticised Nemecek for not sufficiently insisting on the raising of the insurance sums the state pays for children, pensioners and the unemployed that would allow the promised raising of salaries in the healthcare system by 10 percent next year.

Nemecek first spoke about a total of 9.88 billion crowns, now he only speaks about five billion crowns which, Kubek said, will not be enough to raise salaries in hospitals as promised.

The CLK’s proposal to re-direct a part of the tobacco and alcohol taxes is populist, former health minister and opposition lawmaker Leos Heger (TOP 09) said.

He told public Czech Television (CT) that it is all the same money that flows through the state budget.

Kubek said the CLK warned three months ago already that it is no longer capable of guaranteeing the security of health care because of a lack of doctors and nurses who leave for abroad or quit the medical sector altogether.

To stop the departures, Kubek said the promised 10 percent pay rises next year are not sufficient. The CLK calls for an outlook of long-term pay rises.

He said a part of alcohol taxes should also go to health care.

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