Finnish Politics this week – Immigrant Crime vs Care of Elderly

This last week politicians have been concentrating on how to deal with immigrants here in Finland who commit serious crimes – should they be stripped of their newly acquired Finnish nationality and sent back to their country of origin or should they be treated more severely in some way of other? Each party has tried to grab the headlines with their version of what needs to be done with these criminals.

However, these same politicians do not seem to spend so much time talking about the victims of these crimes who lives are shattered. It appears that they just become numbers in the official statistics.

Naturally all of the recent comments on this topic are carefully crafted by the politicians and their media advisors to show that they are serious, honest, trustworthy men and women.

This approach by politicians is useful because they can distract attention away from the more challenging and pressing questions of the Healthcare Reform. Several newspapers have examined the spiralling costs of the care of the elderly. They have reported that many cities and municipalities have outsourced such care to large private companies who are naturally interested in maximising profits by seeking ways to increasing the fees of their services.

The average monthly gross pension of many female pensioners is low and below €2000, with many others receiving a little more if they have had better paying jobs and worked longer. Lower-paid female workers, who have spent years as housewives looking after their children, fall in the former category. The monthly cost of care in a senior home for in a nursing home is between €2500 and €4500 depending on location and the care services provided. Each municipality has its own system of calculating these costs varying from a short one-page instruction, to small booklets with some 30 pages of legal text! Pensioners are hard-pressed to read and understand what they must pay and the private healthcare lobby tries is working at full speed to achieve favourable solution for their businesses through the Conservative and Center Parties.

The public sector, through the subsidies and grants from National Insurance system and the municipalities, covers the costs of care above what the pensioner can pay. Most pensioners are left with around €200 a month which they can use for clothes and prescription medicine. Pensioners are expected to use up around 80% of their monthly income for pensions and any other sources but they are not obliged to sell their homes, investments and assets. This means that the current system favours those people who have such investments at the cost to ordinary tax payers who bear the ultimate costs of the public sector. 

This whole system is now a central theme of the Healthcare Reform, but you will not find any political discussion from the Conservative or Center Parties because it tis their voters who benefit for the present system. It is better to talk about immigration and who criminal immigrants should be treated. 

The two party leaders, Mr. Orpo, (photo above), from the Conservative party and Mr. Sipilä from the Center Party know how to avoid saying anything about the care of the elderly, but they have plenty to tell the media about how to deal with criminal immigrants…  

To put things in perspective, we have around 1 500 000 pensioners, and probably fewer than 1000 immigrants who have committed serious crimes… 

Photo: FinnishNews

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