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Pro-government experts urge higher health expenditures

February 5th, 2016

Two conservative economists urge measures to stop the exodus of doctors and nurses, and suggest tax increases in order to make substantial wage hikes possible.

In Magyar Idők, Katalin and József Botos warn that almost one out of five Hungarian physicians are above the age of 65, mainly because more and more young doctors find much better paid jobs in western Europe. Dr Botos is a professor of economics and served as Cabinet Minister in the first democratically elected government after the regime change, while her husband was director of the Social Security Agency in the same period. They point out that the National Health Service is not in a position to pay higher wages because it is already in deficit, as successive governments have cut welfare contributions in order to stimulate growth. As a result, the average wage paid to health and welfare workers is the lowest among the 20 sectors of the national economy. The Botoses find such a state of affairs unsustainable and suggest that the government should accumulate funds to raise doctors’ and nurses’ salaries even at the price of collecting special taxes and contributions.

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