Govt disagrees with Fiscal Council over health spending
The government has allowed the ZZZS, the public health insurer, to raise its expenditure ceiling for the year by EUR 35m due to higher-than-planned revenue from employee and employer contributions.
The extra money is to be earmarked for reducing waiting times in hospitals.
In an opinion issued two days ago, the Fiscal Council asserted that the planned increase in the ZZZS's expenditure went against the legislative provision saying that any surpluses of individual budget users should be set aside on a special account and may only be used to pay down debt.
However, the government countered by saying that the provision concerned surpluses which were generated at the end of the business year, while in the case of ZZZS a surplus was yet being indicated.
The government added that the "unacceptably long" waiting times for medical procedures suggested the need for the services which should not be put off into the future.
The government said that it exercised due caution in planning the ZZZS' budget and that the expenditure ceiling was not raised as soon as there was an indication of higher-than-planned revenue in spring, but rather after mid-term indications of a surplus above the budgeted figures were much more certain.
The government also said that the extra fiscal scope for the health budget did not represent structural expenditure, but rather one-off effects to address the problem of excessively long waiting times.