If you thought that Trump & Co. were nasty when they started to close down ObamaCare then just think what the present Finnish government has been doing by openly welcoming private healthcare companies to participate in the public healthcare sector under the banner of “Competition” and “Freedom of Choice”.
The first story has been that the private companies have been working closely with the local Conservative and Centre Party “City-Fathers” and got them to sign long-term contracts so that the public sector cost savings cannot take effect.
In other words, we have known for some time that small hospitals and small local healthcare centres will be closed down to get a more efficient network of healthcare centres in a country that can ill-afford to run these small expensive centers in every tiny village or outpost. Another trick has been to employ the staff of healthcare ministers and senior municipal officials to use inside knowledge to get private contracts. This is nothing illegal about this if done transparently. But it was done the Finnish way — nice and quietly, away from any spotlight.
Then the next trick is to buy up all the small local healthcare and aged-care companies with lots of debt from their private equity HQ’s. Naturally they charge quite a lot more than banks to fill their bonus packages — but that is not against the law…
Then they start test the markets and see how they operate and they have no hesitation to sell off or close down the less profitable parts leaving the public market to take up this slack, or, in other cases, they donate their share to the few remaining private companies that appreciate the opportunity to grow.
Then the final part kicks in. As the big ones grow in size so do their internal guidelines get tighter. These have been reported to include instructions to doctors to “encourage” patients to use their laboratory services like scans and physiotherapists, even when they know that the same services are available down the road at a fraction of the cost. Can you imagine questioning your doctor:
“Is your laboratory service more expensive than the one down the road?” Guess what he will answer and how cheap do you want too feel?
The problem is that when private healthcare is running on taxpayer’s money then you and others are paying for these higher prices – and although it is not illegal, it is far from morally correct.
The next time you demand that your income taxes are lowered, then remember this story because by the time you are old and fragile the bosses and shareholders Attendo, Terveystalo, and Mehiläinen will be enjoying nice dividends and free company provided healthcare, while you sit in wet nappies for 2 days because the public healthcare budget has been cut again because, with hindsight, privatising was not such a great idea!
“Competition” and “Freedom of Choice” did not end up being what you thought would be, when you voted then.