By: Andrej Žitnik / Nova24tv
The Social Democrats (Socialni demokrati – SD) support Keber’s Cuban model of healthcare, where all decision-making and financing centres for healthcare are concentrated in a single point managed by the state. This is a model of state-run, not public, healthcare. And it is precisely this model – which the left-wing governments have been advocating all along – that is the reason for the difficult moments that Slovenian healthcare is going through at the moment. Since the Minister of Health, Danijel Bešič Loredan, is prepared to look for the reserves for the healthcare system in the private sector, he is naturally an enemy of the Slovenian spokesmen of the state-planned healthcare, which is the most optimal version of a system that allows corruption to spread freely. It is, therefore, not surprising that the Social Democrats, as part of this grouping, have now also started attacking the Minister of Health. On Tuesday, all of them will be protesting against themselves, even though they are part of the coalition that runs this country.
Namely, Minister Danijel Bešič Loredan had already announced during the hearings before he took office that he intended to continue the practice of the previous, Janez Janša government, of granting concessions to private providers of public health services. He made good on this promise in December when he announced concessions for orthodontic services, citing long waiting times as the reason for his decision.
The Left was already coming after Loredan even before the coalition was formed
This is not at all in the interests of the Social Democrats and the Left (Levica) parties. The Left party has already publicly complained about concession announcements in the past. “Concessions are a form of privatisation of public health, as the private activity does not operate with the motive of providing public health, but profit. Both in the Left party and in the coalition, we are aware of this, which is why we have given the strengthening of public health a priority place in the coalition agreement,” they wrote before the coalition was formed.
Now, the Social Democrats are also attacking Loredan
The Social Democrats were still silent on the matter at the time, preferring to count the gifted staff position in the public administration and state-owned companies that the Prime Minister gave them. But even then, it was more than obvious that they were not happy with the Minister’s plans either, since they were the original ideologues of the Keber model of state health care.
Now, apparently, their officials have been given permission to attack the Minister and demand more state healthcare. Željko Železnik, a member of the leadership team of their local branch in Zagorje ob Savi, took to Facebook to denounce the Minister:
“Loredan has been an “amphibian” [a word often used by the leftists to describe the doctors who work in public healthcare, as well as private practices] throughout his career and is, therefore, part of the problem. To expect solutions from him today, borders on madness. The healthcare system is in an even worse state than it was a year ago. Can you imagine cyclists queuing in the middle of the night to get to a personal doctor under the Janša government? The shouting and screaming at the planned reorganisation, the abolition of the emergency medical service units in certain towns? Where is the realisation of the pre-election promises, the abolition of supplementary health insurance and thus the reduction of insurance companies’ profits at the expense of the patients? Where is the loud civil initiative today? Where are all the “independent” media outlets? In what way is Golob better than Janša? We have exchanged one autocrat for another. The only difference is that today, everything is fine.”
Too many differences when it comes to the question of how to tackle the healthcare system problem
We need to acknowledge that, despite his ideological blindness and cemented state-planning views on healthcare, the local official is at least consistent. He correctly notes that the coalition agreed at the beginning of the mandate to abolish supplementary health insurance (regardless of how wrong their positions on it were). He also correctly notes that the media reaction to the queues in front of the health centres and the abolition of the emergency medical service units is completely different than if the Janša government was still in power.
He apparently said things that seem to be dark family (coalition) secrets, which are not spoken about and which are also – helpfully – not reported in the media. Namely, the concept of concessions as conceived by Danijel Bešič Loredan (not abolishing supplementary insurance, solving waiting times through concessions) is fundamentally at odds with the concept promoted by the coalition partners – the Social Democrats and the Left party (abolishing supplementary insurance, ending all concessionary work, while the Minister is even introducing new concessions).
The coalition will have to agree on the way forward. Prime Minister Robert Golob has said very little about healthcare, as if he does not know the subject, apart from the occasional “health tip” (the sun-and-sea therapy for Covid-19, a meat-free diet…). He obviously leaves all decisions concerning the health system to the Minister of Health, who still enjoys his trust (even when he threatens doctors on his behalf). So, it is clear that the government supports the continuation of Janša’s concessionary solution to the problem of long waiting times. The criticism of the SD party’s official is thus spot on – they and the Left party do not agree with such a system, as they equate public health care with state health care. With such fundamental differences, there is almost no other way out than an amicable break-up of the coalition and the search for more compatible partners.