Healthcare reform battle rages ... in Prague

Healthcare changes protested in Prague
A battle is raging over healthcare reform ... in the Czech Republic.

Every day on WorldNow we choose a striking photo from around the globe. Today we spotted this ghoulish shot from Prague, the Czech capital, where protesters argue that changes to the healthcare system will hurt poor people and are calling for the government to step down.

"We want to point to the monstrosity of the law on healthcare services," Lubos Olejar, chairman of the Czech Patients' Assn., told the Prague Daily Monitor when the protest was announced.

The banner behind this Czech protester says, "Mr. Minister Talk to Us."

Czech protests are erupting on the same day that the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments on a key part of the healthcare reforms backed by President Obama. While the U.S. healthcare reforms have stirred up a political firestorm on the right, the Czech law has been attacked from the left.

The Czech changes raised hospital fees and introduced optional payments for extra care, among other changes, the Ceske Noviny newspaper reported when the first part of the law was passed. The government argues that these and other revisions were needed to cut its deficit.

Weekly protests call for the government to resign, but the center-right coalition in power survived a no-confidence vote this month, the Associated Press reported.

Czech news reports say the law goes into effect in April.

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Photo: A protester in a skeleton costume stands in front of a banner that reads "Mr. Minister Talk to Us" during a demonstration Tuesday in Prague opposing planned healthcare revisions. Credit: Petr David Josek / Associated Press

 
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