The united opposition plans to spend an extra 1,200 billion forints (EUR 3.4bn) in four years on Hungarian health care, its prime ministerial candidate told a forum. The extra funding would reform health care in line with European market methods rather than operating a centralised “communist system”, Péter Márki-Zay told a press conference in front a district health clinic in Budapest. He accused the Fidesz government of regarding health care purely as a business and running public health care into the ground so that the only option remaining to the sick would be to use hospitals owned by “Fidesz oligarchs”. The politician vowed to revamp Hungary’s health care and to fund it through a single national insurance model. He said patients waiting more than six months for surgery would be referred to a private provider and the state would pick up the bill.
Márki-Zay claimed to be in possession of “inside information” suggesting that Fidesz planned to privatise health care after the election. He said Hungarians currently pay 30% of their health-care costs out of their own pocket, which, he added, was “the highest rate in the EU”. Funding for Hungary’s health-care system, he said, would increase to 7% of gross national product — the EU average — from 4.5% last year in four years. Márki-Zay also promised health professionals a “significant salary increase”.