By: Dr. Janez Remškar
In 1990, after 45 years of revolutionary rule, healthcare was in a financial collapse, which necessitated an urgent increase in contribution rates. Until 1990, employees had struggled with a lack of medicines, outdated equipment (X-ray machines), in many places with unsuitable premises (psychiatric hospitals in castles), and we did not deal with quality and safety for patients in a planned manner. Because of politicians, occupational medicine has not done what it was called to do. The communist authorities did not pay attention to the environment and related health problems (Anhovo, Celje, Mežica). Self-government was a means of acquiring rights and not for exercising responsibility. There were large differences in accessibility between regions. At the same time, the political elite had the privilege of special access to health services in the Emona sanatorium, for specially allocated funds. What was good in healthcare was solely the responsibility of healthcare employees. It is true that there were no queues, unfortunately people are not told the plain truth here. Until 1990, health care institutions had planned funds for the current year, which were generally spent by November of the current year. Everything went on, in hospitals, health centres we continued to work without restrictions. The money that was not available for these two months was simply printed the following year, which also contributed to extremely high inflation. The “left” is silent about this now.
After 1990, Demos was in power for only two years, drafting and adopting new health legislation. Subsequently, for the last 28 years, governments have been in the hands of “leftists” for more than 20 years, the so-called right wing governments ruled the rest of the time. So which side is most responsible for the state of healthcare?
I took my time and reviewed the coalition agreements from 2008 to 2018, at the time, with the exception of 10. II. 2012 to 20. III. 2013 (government of Janez Janša), when the “left” was in power. We have experienced many promises, but unfortunately for the patients, only that. Everything is documented. Their constant demagogic advocacy in defence of public health, which no one is cancelling because no one thinks of it (given how mixed but mostly public health systems work in EU countries), is nothing more than a bluff! It is true that there is still a mix of public and private work in healthcare, which is unacceptable.
In 20 years of governing they have not regulated anything
Why did they not fix it? Why do “leftists” not allow real supplementary insurance? They had more than enough time. Why did they not make a network of hospitals, a primary health care network, why did they not pass legislation in the field of quality, safety during their rule, why did they not pass a law on long-term care? At the same time, they constantly set priorities: financial sustainability, as many rights as possible at the expense of compulsory health insurance, equal and good accessibility, quality, efficiency. They constantly promise joint procurement, care and palliative care regulation and, last but not least, zero tolerance for corruption. And which of these have they realised in more than 20 years of their leadership of governments? I could blame even more on them, given the available documents and the actual state of health care, but this should be enough for the “leftists”. None of the promises have happened, waiting lists have been extended, corruption has not been tackled, the fragmentation of the profession is growing, and so on.
Now again the so-called leftists promise what they will all do, including in the field of healthcare. They promise a “New Beginning” in SD? With it they promise a lot (more investments in healthcare, at least 800 euros for the minimum wage, at least 700 euros for the lowest pension, the transition to a 38-hour working schedule, etc.). And how will they realise all this? Nothing about that. How many times have we been promised the abolition of unfair supplementary insurance, how many times have we been promised zero tolerance for corruption, as well as the law on care for the elderly, etc.? Only promises. And it will be different now? With the same people, “red star followers and gaining revolution”? With their view on entrepreneurship, personal initiative and spending at the expense of many non-governmental organisations, whose representatives “cycle” around Ljubljana, with the participation of some leading “Balkan warriors” who, according to the media, represent an “all-Slovenian uprising”, all supported by SD? Is that true? What does 2, 3 thousand really mean if you want 10 thousand protesters? Is that “the people”? However, the situation in health care is on the verge of collapse, mainly due to perpetual promises and the inability of the left wing governments to fulfil these promises, as in 1990. As a doctor, I am particularly appalled by the “left wing” opposition during covid-19. The current prolongation of the epidemic (we are the only ones in the EU in the red), new and new deaths, the problems of healthcare workers, are now at the expense of the nation’s unacceptable behaviour by the opposition and the mainstream media.