In the last days, protests were held in various cities of Romania against the health bill that has been submitted by the government. Extensive privatization of the entire health sector will be enforced with this new law. By Sunday, January 15th, 2012, the social protests climaxed. In Bucharest it came up to street clashes that lasted for several hours [see video]. Police and gendarmerie inflicted severe injuries to demonstrators.
~ Privatization of the entire health care system – Health only for the rich
By the end of December 2011, the new health bill was submitted by State’s president Traian Băsescu of the right liberal-democratic party (PDL). The president expounded that he seeks the whole privatization of this elementary field of society in order to revive the ‘competition between the hospitals’. Simultaneously, the services of the health insurance were cut severely. Additional payments or general contributions of medical attendance are obligatory. The ambulance service (SMURD) is about to be privatized as well. That means in concrete: no money – no salvation. This purpose made sub-secretary Raed Arafat, director of the emergency service, to declare in public that this bill shatters the health system and that he would not agree upon this project. The reaction of president Traian Băsescu was authoritarian as is usual. He denounced Arafat as ‘the greatest enemy of the private health system’ and declared last Thursday (January 12th, 2012): ‘If he doesn’t agree with the law, he goes.’ To give more weight to his threat, Băsescu added towards a journalist: ‘It was a bigger issue when Stefan Lazaroiu (former labour minister) resigned from his position.’ Raed Arafat resigned finally and left his post on last week’s Friday. [For two and a half years, R.Arafat was under-secretary of State for Public Health, but he was compelled to resign on January 10th, after expressing his criticism during the current health care and welfare reform debate.]