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Interfax: Hungarian premier accepts health minister's resignation

Interfax: Hungarian premier accepts health minister's resignation

4.4.2007 16:00
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BUDAPEST. APRIL 4. INTERFAX CENTRAL EUROPE - Hungary's Health Minister Lajos Molnar handed in his resignation Wednesday, which was accepted by Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany, who said his government remains committed to carrying through with health care reform plans.

"The prime minister and the government remain committed to continuing with health care reform because the steps taken thus far [...] are the right steps toward creating a better health care system," the government spokesperson's office said in a statement.

Molnar did not reveal the reasons behind his resignation. As he was designated by the junior coalition party SZDSZ, the party has the right to name his successor. Until a new minister is named, State Secretary Agnes Horvath will head the ministry, with Horvath's interim posting beginning April 6.

Press reports have previously commented about Molnar's personal health problems, and there have reportedly been disagreements between the SZDSZ and the coalition-leading Socialist party on the reform of the health sector's insurance system.

While the SZDSZ and Molnar favor a system with several competing insurers, the Socialists have lobbied for a single-insurer system. The government said this question will be the next great step in health reform, but did not indicate which option it favors.

"The next great task of health reform will be overhauling the insurance side," the statement said.

The government also called the first phase of the reform a "success," in which Molnar had a determining role. However, the minister has faced criticism from the opposition and from workers in the health sector who have held demonstrations against hospital closures and a revamped financing system.


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