Senate rejects ban on hospitals' conversion to business firms

09-12-2004

The right-of-centre dominated Senate has voted against a bill banning hospitals run by regional governments from being turned into business companies, which the Social Democratic Party recently pushed through the Chamber of Deputies.

The Chamber will now have to vote on the bill again.

The balance of forces in the Lower House indicates it could override the Senate and push the bill through a second time. However, it would then still have to be signed by President Vaclav Klaus. Supporters of the ban say it defends the availability of balanced health care, while critics contend it interferes in regional governments' authority.