By: Sara Kovač / Nova24tv
According to the information of our reliable source, on Thursday, the Health and Social Security Commission of the Slovenian Federation of Pensioners’ Associations decided not to support Golob’s amendment on long-term care. However, it seems that the influence of the old forces, which are in agreement with Golob’s government, is so strong that the President of the Federation of Pensioners’ Associations, Janez Sušnik, is now being pressured to reverse the decision and express support for the government’s amendments in Sunday’s referendums.
In line with the decision of the Health and Social Security Commission, Golob’s amendment to the Long-Term Care Act was not supported by the Slovenian Federation of Pensioners’ Associations. A publication on the subject was prepared and was to be sent to pensioners’ addresses. However, it seems that the pressure was too strong, as this could have turned the story completely against the government’s interests. In fact, the President of the Federation of Pensioners’
Associations, Janez Sušnik, convened the Federation’s Council, which decided to express its support for a three-time “in favour” vote.
On Monday, the 21st of November, the Federation’s Council met, with the following item on the agenda: “Position on the legislative referendum on the Act on Amendments to the Government of the Republic of Slovenia Act, on the Act on Amendments and Additions to the Radio-Television Slovenia Act, and on the Amendments to the Long-Term Care Act.” All of the members who were present at the meeting (including the influential member of the Democratic Party of Pensioners of Slovenia – DeSUS, Anton Donko, and former Minister of Labour Jožica Puhar), including Sušnik, agreed that the Council of the Federation of Pensioners’ Associations should recommend to the Federation’s members that the amendments to the laws be approved and that at the referendum on the 27th of November, people should vote “in favour” of the changes three times.
The official position of the Federation’s Council, which is published on the organisation’s website, shows that after all the members who were present at the meeting confirmed the adopted decision by a show of hands, President Sušnik adopted the obligation to immediately inform all members of the Associations of the decision. It seems that the sudden change in opinion happened because of the pressure that was being exerted on Sušnik. The Council of the Federation is a real “old boys” club, which has no interest in acting against the interests of the ruling coalition. However, this is pushing the work for the benefit of older people to the periphery.
Namely, the Long-Term Care Act gives all citizens the hope that they will not be left alone and without healthcare and support in their old age. It is a systemic law that will ensure that every elderly person can spend their last years without unnecessary hardships and deprivations. If people succumb to the propaganda of those in power who want to politicise public broadcasting and increase the number of ministries at the expense of the taxpayers, long-term care will also be abolished, which includes the provision of the conditions for an accessible, high-quality and safe treatment for adults who, because of illness, old age, injury or disability, are no longer able to look after themselves independently.
They previously supported the Long-Term Care Act
What is particularly sad about this whole story is that the Federation supported the Long-Term Care Act when it was adopted. In a press release last June, they wrote the following regarding the Janša government’s intention to finally regulate long-term care: “After several years, the government has prepared and published a draft law on long-term care. We, the pensioners, are certainly pleased that work on this important bill is continuing. This is an area of concern for the elderly, who are usually also chronically ill and in need of help from others.” They added that they are pleased that after almost 20 years of preparation, discussion and debate, the law is about to be adopted and implemented for the benefit of those who need it most. “In this respect, we support it and hope that, even though it is a temporary and transitional arrangement, it will come into force,” they stressed.
They went on to express some criticism of the law but concluded that, despite the criticisms, they supported its adoption. “We decided on this because of the fact that this is a temporary and transitory law and by the idea that people who need help from another person to carry out basic daily activities will, after many years of efforts, be able to finally get it, thus improving their material and social situation,” they explained.
Incidentally, a clip in which Sušnik talks about e-care, for which he was advocating at the time, is also very telling. In the video, he says: “Finally, our long-standing wish and need for older people to be able to call for help when they fall or have an accident in their homes is about to come true. This is something they could not actually do until now if something like that happened to them, as they could not get to their phone in their helpless state, so things should become much easier now. This is a new development for our country, but it has been known abroad for a long time, it could have been implemented in 2018 already, but it was not – and now, it finally will be!”
Well, everything seems to be different now. On Tuesday, the media were informed of the decision of the Council of the Federation of Pensioners’ Associations, with the Federation’s President’s recommendation that all members of the pensioners’ associations be informed of it, to vote in favour of the Golob government. Although the decision was accompanied by the acknowledgement that the members of the pensioners’ associations had every right to vote according to their own convictions, it is clear that this marks the beginning of propaganda to the detriment of the elderly, who need help from others.
Given that the Federation of Pensioners’ Associations was previously very much in favour of regulating long-term care and, according to our source, the Health and Social Security Commission was also in favour of it, it is obvious that the old forces that have influence in the Federation’s Council are well arete that opposition to the law would completely reverse the story that the Golob government has set out to tell. But unfortunately, in the end, it is the most vulnerable members of our society who will feel the consequences the most. In this case, it is the elderly who need help from others. The fact is that if the harmful government law is not rejected in the referendum, people will lose at least 100 million euros in 2023. “These funds will come out of their own pockets, instead of the public budget,” as MP Zvonko Černač recently explained.