Prague - Czech government officials are preparing a strategy aimed to reduce the consumption of cigarettes and alcohol in the country, but cigarette and alcohol producers need not be afraid, as planning a strategy actually means doing nothing, Martin Zverina writes in Lidove noviny (LN).
Like other strategies, the new one will surely get bogged down on the relevant ministries´ failure to cooperate. To be a success, any strategy needs political will, otherwise it can never be implemented, Zverina writes.
Does the government really want to reduce the consumption of legal drugs and thereby reduce the state´s income? He who would really pursue this goal, would gain the reputation of an unpopular fanatic. Like their predecessors, none of the present ministers is capable of doing this, Zverina writes.
Simultaneously, Agriculture Minister Marian Jurecka said he plans to reduce the excise tax on beer, and the parliament will meet soon to discuss ways to increase the cigarette prices as slightly as possible, Zverina remarks in conclusion.
In Hospodarske noviny (HN), Petr Fischer criticises the centre-left government for abolishing the fees patients pay for hospitalisation and for its plan to abolish other regulatory health fees.
As a result of the abolition of the 100-crown fee patients paid for a day in hospital, long-term care hospitals are again becoming filled with elderly patients for whom their families previously preferred to care at home in order to save money on the hospitalisation fees, Fischer writes.
The abolition of the fees, which the cabinet presented as a social-friendly step, had just the opposite effect - a small social catastrophe, social hyenism. Families "deposit" their old disabled grandparents in long-term care hospitals only because it has become free of charge again, Fischer says.
This confirms that in the health area, too, most people tend to follow economic principles rather than human, he says.
The reasons why the government refuses to reintroduce the fees are pseudo-social and populist, aimed to please people regardless of the decision´s negative effect on health care, Fischer writes.
This also applies to the government´s plan to abolish further types health regulatory fees, he adds.
The results of the fresh opinion poll, conducted by the STEM agency, indicate that ANO leader Andrej Babis´s dream of heading either a caretaker or a one-party cabinet, similar to Robert Fico´s in Slovakia, is unfeasible and that ANO is confined to be a part of a coalition government, Alexandr Mitrofanov writes in Pravo.
The front-runner ANO´s popularity reached 27.1 percent in May. However, according to STEM polls, ANO´s popularity culminated in March and it has been slowly decreasing since, Mitrofanov writes.
The Czech Republic will have coalition governments in the foreseeable future, public opinion polls indicate.
If elections were held now, the present governing coalition of the Social Democrats (CSSD), ANO and the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) would win the constitutional majority of at least 120 seats in the 200-seat Chamber of Deputies.
Babis could even choose whether to ally with his present partners or form a government with the rightist TOP 09, Civic Democrats (ODS) and the KDU-CSL, who would together gain as many votes as the CSSD, Mitrofanov points out.