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The Warsaw Voice » Politics » November 5, 2008
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Senate Rejects Healthcare Referendum
November 5, 2008   
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The upper house of Poland's parliament, the Senate, Oct. 28 rejected a proposal from President Lech Kaczyński to hold a national referendum on the government's latest plan to reform the country's healthcare system. Kaczyński wanted the referendum to ask citizens if they approved the government's plan to convert healthcare centers into companies, "a move that would enable the privatization of hospitals," as Kaczyński put it.

The Senate discussed the president's motion for 10 hours. Senators from the opposition Law and Justice (PiS) party supported the president's proposal, saying it would give people an opportunity to express their opinion on the "privatization of hospitals," an issue of direct concern to them. Senators from the ruling Civic Platform (PO) party, on the other hand, argued that the wording of the proposed referendum question was "absurd" and "appealed to people's emotions" rather than common sense.

Andrzej Duda, an official from the President's Office who presented the president's motion in the Senate, said after the vote that it was bad news that the initiative had been rejected. He added that one of the main reasons why the president wanted to ask people about this particular aspect of the healthcare reform was that before the parliamentary elections in October last year the PO had insisted it was not planning any privatizations in the healthcare system.

A day later, Kaczyński said he would veto the healthcare bills recently approved by the parliament. He said it was his moral duty to oppose the ruling coalition's plans, which he said were harmful to society. He vowed to do everything possible to derail the reform.
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