Ten opposition parties agree on “national minimum” of health-care reform goals

October 5, 2017

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Photo: Flickr/Hamza Butt

Ten opposition parties comprising Jobbik, the Socialists (MSZP), Democratic Coalition (DK), Momentum, Politics Can Be Different (LMP), Dialogue for Hungary (PM), Együtt (Together), the Liberals, Movement for a Modern Hungary (MoMa) and the Hungarian Two-Tailed Dog Party have jointly written and agreed on a document outlining what they call a national “health-care minimum.” The ten parties agreed to set aside party politics and develop four-year cycles to concentrate on raising Hungarian health-care standards to the European average, reports hvg.hu.

The opposition parties are hopelessly divided ahead of the 2018 general election, and radical-right Jobbik recently refrained from formulating a joint declaration proposing new electoral reforms initiated by activist Márton Gulyás’ Common Country Movement that was signed by eight active opposition parties.

But health-care could be the field where human interests rise above party disagreements.

László Lukács, Jobbik’s health-care expert politician, said earlier that there are basic areas where left- and right-wing parties can agree, and stressed that health-care cannot be a political battlefield. Following the opposition-wide agreement on the necessity of health-care reform, former health-care secretary and Hungarian Democratic Forum MP Gyula Kincses invited all parties that had measurable support in opinion polls to join a health-care roundtable in July.

Apart from governing parties Fidesz and the Christian Democrats (KDNP), all invited parties participated in the formulation of the proposition about the “national minimum.”

The document states that the parties’ signatures oblige their politicians to turn the agreement into a medium-term goal if they will be in government after the 2018 election. The language of the document is vague on some points, and contains many basic principles related to health-care reform. It does not match each party’s respective health-care program, but is said to overlap with Jobbik’s campaign program and “harmonizes” with that of Együtt.

The most important points include a health-care system that is equally available for everyone, and is effective and does not lack sufficient resources. It calls for an end to corruption, and “quality instead of quantity.” The document insists that health-care workers must be able to earn a living with only one job, and stipulates that working in the private health-care sector should not be a financially-motivated choice. Death rates are to be decreased, while life expectancy and number of years spent healthy are to be increased within eight years.

The document also states that “no one should be poor because they are sick, and no one should be sick because they are poor.”

One of the few precise figures in the agreement stipulates that funding of the health-care system is to be raised from 5 percent of GDP to the European average of 7 percent within four years in order to finance the reformed system.

The document has not yet been made public, but Jobbik chair Gábor Vona and LMP co-chair Ákos Hadházy have reportedly already signed it. Signatures from leaders of the other eight participating parties are expected as a formality.