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When the Academy for International Health Studies traveled to Prague in April for its annual trade/study mission, little did the delegates know they were about to enter a healthcare war zone. Weeks in advance of a contentious national election, the country's prime minister recently had fired the minister of health and named a successor with a mandate to implement some quick fixes. Insurers managed their strained cash flows by slowing payments to providers while the new minister, seemingly arbitrarily, mandated price reductions. The result was a physician-organized strike and thousands of angry, untreated patients.