President Klaus signs amendment on health fees

President Klaus has signed into law an amendment modifying the controversial health legislation that introduced blanket health fees for all Czech citizens at the beginning of 2008. In line with the amendment health fees will no longer be mandatory for those under the age of 18. The approval of the bill was preceded by heated debate in both houses of Parliament after members of the two smaller parties in government – the Greens and the Christian Democrats – joined the opposition in calling for minors to be exempted from the payments. The burden of health fees has also been lowered for pensioners and socially weaker groups of the population. The Social Democrats remain strongly opposed to the idea of health fees as such and have pledged to strike them down altogether when they return to power.