Article taken from the Swedish healthcare privatisation debate
This is a quick translation of a text on the debate of the Swedish healthcare system and the changes it's going through with the new right-wing government. After the text there is a youtube clip of the American Democratic congressman Dennis Kucinich on the issue of the vote to repeal the recent healthcare reform in the USA. The page ends with a text out of the UN declaration of human rights.
I assert that the only way to ensure the equal access and quality of health care and social services is through a publicly funded and owned health care system.
I would appreciate it if you skipped on commenting the bad language as this is assuredly a hack-job of a translation. The references mentioned in the translated article can be found in the link to the source at the bottom of the web page. If asked I will attempt to help you find further sources or references, or translate ones that happen to be in Swedish. And without further ado:
" Private and public healthcare
A familiar thought within the civil society and in media is that private healthcare gives easier access, is more effective and of higher quality than the healthcare of a public system. It is seen as close to a fact that privatisation and adjusting the healthcare system to the market will improve the system as a whole. With this as starting point for the public debate, large privatisations, deregulations and strategic changes of legislation has been driven through. The fact of the matter, however, is that with a basis in the literature there is no support that for-profit healthcare is more favourable concerning healthcare economy, quality or patient access.
In a study of 317 articles which analysed different modes of operation it is established that none of these studies has results that point towards for-profit healthcare being more cost efficient . The European Observatory on Health Systems (financed by the World Bank Group, London School of Economics and the WHO) also establishes that the idea of private ownership entailing increased efficiency is proven to be an ideological credo without any empirical support what so ever . Likewise, a EU-financed report draws the conclusion that the increased productivity that has been observed in healthcare did not depend on increased market orientation [3,4]. Even if the quality aspect of healthcare privatisation is sparsely studied the evidence seems to go against privatising healthcare leading to higher quality.
The debate of accessibility within heatlhcare has largely revolved around opening hours and queues to see care, but accessibility also includes geographical accessibility. Publicly funded private healthcare providers are, since new legislation has been passed, allowed to establish their presence where they see most profit. There is a tangible risk that this will lead to a redistribution of care givers and resources to locales with a high socio-economic standing and a lesser need of healthcare. This despite the knowledge of an already existing imbalance in healthcare usage where individuals in neighbourhoods of weak socio-economic standing already under-use the health care. Private healthcare financed through private health insurances inherently lacks access to those without such an insurance. In the long run this will lead to an increasing part of the population with private insurance (who thusly "pay double" for their health care) and also a decreased interest in financing public health care through taxes. This could lead to decreased intake through taxes and lower budgetary allocations.
Thus the scientific literature speak against for-profit healthcare. But since the health care systems of different countries, and their situations, differ it is difficult to generalise the results of international research to the Swedish situation. It is, though, plain that the positive claims regarding private healthcare is being gratitiously treated without criticism. It is also obvious that the remodelling of the health care system that is now being implemented is founded neither in science, reason or proven experience but in ideological dogma. Our fear is that the principles of dignity, cost efficiency and need [editors note: direct translation of the principles stated in Swedish law that are to direct health care practice] will be abandoned as health, instead of being seen as a human right, now is to be viewed as a commodity. The public health care is wrestling with real problems, both as care givers and as work places. But everything does not work poorly, and neither is every problem a direct or necessary consequence of public ownership. We therefore want to influence the debate way from political dogmatism and towards a more serious discussion that focuses on long term and constructive solutions."
Article 25 1. Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control. 2. Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.