ATHENS – A New Democracy health bill reform was assailed in Parliament by the major opposition SYRIZA and center-left PASOK-KINAL parties who said it will end the exclusive employment of public hospital doctors
Greece is already essentially in a pre-election campaign mode ahead of the mid-2023 polls that has seen Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis under attack on virtually every front and over every proposal.
SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance leader and former premier Alexis Tsipras, reverting to Communist-like statements, accused the governent of dogmatism and ideological obsession without making clear what he meant.
Talking in Parliament he noted there were few members of the ruling Conservatives who have a majority and can vote through any measure, leaving rivals with nothing to do but rant.
He claimed that the bill proved how he said the government has been deeply hypocritical during the waning COVID-19 pandemic when it spoke about the National Health System. “You have never believed in it,” he added.
Tsipras stressed the “need for the state to provide decent conditions of healthcare for all the citizens,” said the state-run Athens-Macedonia News Agency ANA-MPA, without mentioning he didn’t do it while ruling for 4 ½ years.
“There is a need for people in a state governed by the rule of law to feel a basic safety. That they will not be left helpless to die on a gurney when they can’t afford to pay,” he added.
PASOK leader Nikos Androulakis jumped in and said that, “The National Health System was one of the most iconic reforms with PASOK’s signature because it cut through social inequalities and offered its services to all the citizens.”
“Instead of strengthening the ESY (public health body) and primary healthcare after a 10-year economic crisis and the pandemic … the government is opting to bring a bill which we categorically oppose, because it totally dismantles the National Health System,” he added.
He said the bill also “turns a public and social asset into an item on the private market, at a time when Greeks, in an opressive environment of price hikes and inflation, have the third highest spending on private healthcare in Europe, behind only Bulgaria and Lithuania.”
In a parting shot at the government he said, “On every occasion it proves that its priority is to facilitate interests, both big and small, even at the expense of the citizens’ prosperity.”