Why this story matters:
Starting in February, Slovak fathers will no longer have to pay to be allowed in the labor room wth their partner under a new rule from the health ministry.
The ministry also announced that parents will no longer have to pay for epidurals, and is negotiating whether insurance companies or the government will pay for the pain-reliving procedure.
"I'm not saying we have an agreement, but we have this discussion open," the minister of health says.
According to government data, hospitals have charged 70 to 209 euros with VAT for epidurals, making them unaffordable for low-income women. Minister of Health Tomáš Drucker decided to drop this payment from the law and prohibit hospitals from charging future parents.
Right now, if the insurance company does not pay, the hospital must pay. Drucker's goal is for insurance companies to pay for public health insurance.
Details from the story:
- Fathers will no longer have pay 10 to 35 euros to accompany their partners during childbirth.
- From January to September 2017, about 1 in 5 fathers -- 4,200 out of 22,000 births -- were present during labor.
- In the same time span, only about 1 in 7 women -- less than 3,000 out of 22,000 births -- had epidurals.
- This year, a new documentary called "Before I Met You" has questioned the way hospitals treat women in childbirth