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Thursday, May 23, 2024

The truth about the “abolition” of supplementary health insurance is much crueller than it seems at first glance! Slovenia is even becoming worse than primitive African dictatorships!

By: Gašper Blažič

In the introduction, I should explain that perhaps this article will be a bit more personal and not just a dry report on yesterday’s press conference in the premises of the Gibanje Svoboda parliamentary group, which attracted a large number of journalists – including the author of these lines.

Since Golob’s government likes to talk about timelines, it should be noted that the first information about the press conference came yesterday (April 12th) at 8:10 in the morning, after the results of the latest Mediana poll were released late the day before, showing equality of public opinion between the parties Gibanje Svoboda and SDS. Which turns the existing balance of public opinion quite upside down. Well, yesterday they subsequently announced on STA that the Gibanje Svoboda team (consisting of Prime Minister Robert Golob, the head of the parliamentary group Borut Sajovic, the president of the parliamentary committee on health Tamara Kozlović, the Minister of Health Danijel Bešič Loredan and the Minister of Finance Klemen Boštjančič) was joined at the press conference by Luka Mesec (Levica) and Meira Hot (SD). Which indicated that the “horuk effect” was happening, more precisely, a terrible rush and improvisation of a project, which Minister Bešič Loredan explained a few days ago, that it would only happen at the end of 2025 – that is, in a year and a half. But for the appearance of the “emperor’s new clothes”, everything must look ideal: a unified government, a unified coalition, and a unified media.

Shortly after the announcement of the press conference, the STA published a report that the Svoboda parliamentary group submitted an amendment to the Act on Health Care and Health Insurance in the National Assembly, with which they want to abolish supplementary health insurance and transfer it to compulsory health insurance in the form of payments of a mandatory health contribution in to a single fixed amount, which should – for now – amount to 35 euros. Of course, we will talk about the details a little later.

The emperor puts his new clothes on display…

Interesting: the press conference of the Voice of Pensioners initiative and the October 1st Institute on the same topic was held at Republic Square (in front of the National Assembly building) half an hour before Golob’s press conference, i.e., at 11 in the morning. The STA published the report on Pavle Rupar’s statements on the mentioned issue only after 2 p.m. (!), when the Slovenian public was already well informed about the “new policy” of Golob’s government, as some media even broadcast the press conference live, but it ended at approximately 12:30 p.m. About an hour earlier, STA published a report on the press conference of the pensioners’ association and the pensioners’ union, in which the vice-president of ZDUS Jožica Puhar (former minister of labour in the Demos government) suggested regarding Rupar’s campaign, saying that these problems cannot be solved on the street. Of course, not a word was said about the fact that the October 1st Institute prepared its bill on health insurance reform (whereby it proposed the abolition of supplementary insurance, but not, for example, the payment of a single monthly lump sum).

At the same time, we should also remember that non-governmental organisations can also file legislative proposals – this is what the Srebrna nit association recently did with a legal proposal that finally legalises euthanasia, which promises, to put it a little more bluntly, “the final solution to the pension questions”.

Interlude: when at around 11:15 a.m. the author of these lines, who walked from the Demokracija office to the building of the National Assembly (half an hour’s walk), turned from Beethoven Street around the corner towards the entrance to the parliament building, he was at the corner in the grass strip that surrounds the building of the National Assembly, noticed in the grass – a dead pigeon. Very symbolic. Interestingly, some Twitter users also drew attention to it.

As already mentioned: the press conference was held in the meeting hall of the premises of the Gibanje Svoboda parliamentary group, where a lot of journalists gathered, the press conference was not recorded (and those of us who stood a little further away from the group of those who stood in front of the microphones, that is Golob and others, had to try hard to hear anything), which indicates that the press conference was called in a hurry and that there was no time to look for a more suitable place. On top of everything, the press conference started late, when Golob arrived he tried to give the impression of a confident politician who knows what he wants, Bešič Loredan and Boštjančič looked rather indifferent, as if this matter did not concern them much (and actually it really did not, because they did not participate in this legislative proposal, because the law was introduced by the parliamentary group Gibanje Svoboda, not, for example, the government or any of the ministries!). And Sajovic stood for a while with his eyes closed, occasionally looking up (as would pray that this cup passes by him as soon as possible) – but in the meantime he managed to put an epic statement on the air, with which he became a direct competitor to former Prime Minister Marjan Šarec.

The law that sank Šarec’s government like a millstone

The press conference itself did not offer any particular useful value from the media. Mainly, details were asked, but there were no unpleasant questions, because those who take care of the “emperor’s new clothes” did not allow it. Nevertheless, the author of these lines managed to put on the air the question of what has changed so drastically in four years that they once again brought to light the law, for which the Levica party strongly advocated in 2019, during Šarec’s government, but during there was considerable tension between it and Šarec.

Let’s first look at the background of my question – this is what happened in the fall of 2019, when the “project to abolish the DZZ” took place, when inter-coalition tensions also escalated until Šarec threw in the towel at the end of January 2020. At that time, the Minister of Health Aleš Šabeder also said, that he had prepared a statement in his resignation, saying that a conductor cannot conduct an ensemble with his hands tied. Well, Šarec was even willing to abolish supplementary health insurance and thus bow to the half-coalition Levica, but what happened when Šarec’s Finance Minister Andrej Bertoncelj resigned and let Šarec know that the matter does not hold water. This is what Delo reported in the second half of January, namely that Bertoncelj “announced together with his state secretaries that they do not agree to bianco menico that they would like to receive from the financial sector upon the planned abolition of supplementary health insurance”. The resignation followed: first Bertoncelj, then Šarec. The consequences are known, it all happened just before the first major impact of the covid19 epidemic. The abolition of supplementary health insurance was thus a millstone that Šarec’s government put around its neck and then sank it.

Let’s also see what Peter Jančič (Spletni časopis) wrote on January 29th, 2020, two days after Šarec’s resignation:

“When Marjan Šarec and Luka Mesec took power in a coalition with SD, SMC, DeSUS and SAB, additional health insurance cost only 27 euros from private insurance companies. In a year and a half, the price was increased to 35 euros. This was the price of cooperation between Šarec and Mesec, who significantly increased salaries in the public sector, which also includes health care, and this had to be paid for from somewhere. They publicly disseminated information that the reason was the increase in prices by a greedy insurance company, which allegedly raised the price on their own. But the determination of the price of state insurance has now shown that the reasons are more objective.”

Is it now clear where the price of the 35-euro flat monthly contribution, which we will now be paying instead of voluntary (!) health insurance, comes from? In other words: the state has monopolised health insurance, which means that we will get less services for paying more. Socialism tailored to the people?! Who can prevent Golob’s (or any other government) from increasing the contribution to 50 euros or more if they feel like it?

The law, which is now being proposed by Golob in the style of Stane Dolanc, has already been rejected once

And on the day when Jančič wrote this statement, the law on the abolition of supplementary health insurance was passed in the National Assembly: SDS, NSi, SNS, SMC, DeSUS and SAB spoke against the law. There were 32 in favour and 51 against.

And what now? Golob pulled the virtually identical Šabedr’s law out of the drawer and ensures that it has the solid support of the coalition, and the law was introduced into the procedure by the parliamentary group of the largest government party, not, for example, the government. And this is the same law that buried Šarec’s government in 2020. Now, it is said to represent a miraculous solution for everyone, even Finance Minister Klemen Boštjančič is said to be satisfied with it. If you believe in elves.

And if we repeat the question that was asked yesterday by the author of these lines to the Prime Minister: what has changed in almost four years that they are repeating the already seen story? I am quoting from memory the beginning of Golob’s answer: “The balance of power has changed…” As soon as the Prime Minister started speaking, I got an association with that famous 50-year-old Dolanc’s quote: “…if we were not /in power/, it would mean, that there is someone else…” And of course, Golob wanted to say that it did not work then but it will this time, because we are much stronger. Well, he is not too concerned with the fact that Šarec is now a member of his team and even a member of his party. Golob said in a slightly nicer way what is otherwise true of various primitive dictatorial regimes in Africa – it is clearly no coincidence that a female duo (Fajon and Klakočar Zupančič) recently visited “core” Africa separately. Which is clearly becoming an inspiration for our rulers, just like it used to be for Josip Broz Tito.

So, if you happened to think that by eliminating supplementary (and voluntary) health insurance you would be much better off financially, you are very wrong and terribly naïve. That the champion of Modra zavarovalnica, the nephew of the former member of the SD Breda Pečan and one of the most influential uncles from the background of Borut Jamnik, practically at the same time that Golob showed his “new clothes” regarding healthcare, became the first man of the SID.

This is also why the symbolism of a crouched dove next to the building of the Temple of democracy may not even be so coincidental…

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