Finnish government’s Healthcare reform (SOTE) faces strong opposition from own ranks and may collapse

The Social- and Healthcare Reform (SOTE) proposal that is currently before Parliament is facing sudden and strong opposition from 2 leading MP’s who have expressed the views that the promised cost savings will not be achieved, freedom of choice will not happen as planned, healthcare availability will not improve, and the associated creation of new Counties (Maakunnat) is an expensive fiasco.

Ms. Lepomäki, a former banker, and Mr. Harkimo, a prominent businessman, have together made the above statements, which appear to reflect the opinions of the powerful Mayor of Helsinki, Mr. Vapaavuori.

All 3 are prominent members the Conservative Party, and it would appear that they cannot be ignored by the party leader, the current Finance Minister Mr. Orpo.

The whole of the SOTE reform and the associated establishment of the Counties is the result of years of shady trade-offs negotiated between the 2 big parties in government, the Centre Party and the Conservative Party.

The Centre Party has been driving the establishment of the Counties to support its own power base, while avoiding to take much needed action to reform the municipal system. The Conservatives have been supporting the SOTE reform on condition that large parts of public healthcare are opened up to private healthcare companies that fund the party.

FinnishNews has reported that the calculations and assumptions being made by the present government are based on over-optimistic assumptions and have no bearing on reality.

A quick search of Finnish news with the key word “SOTE” will reveal well over 30 articles that analyse these facts based on interviews and research with the following key results:

  1. The required IT investments in electronic healthcare records will be substantially higher that forecast based on well-documented experience from abroad.
  2. The creation of the Counties will also result in a new layer of bureaucracy in Finland with huge costs related to real estate and IT solutions.
  3. The move to privatise large parts of public healthcare is based on commercial grounds for making attractive profits for the companies involved, and not for cost savings for the general public.

It would appear that few MP’s have any real appreciation of the above results of these 2 reform proposals, and that the newly established opposition from within the Conservative Party is a step in the right direction to understanding the financial and social dangers facing Finland as a result of these 2 proposals.

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