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Contre la privatisation du système de santé hongrois ! Solidarité

Publié par AITEC, IPAM, le 24 janvier 2008.

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Solidarity with the hungarian organizations !

Stop the privatization process of the hungarian’s National Health Insurance !

AITEC/IPAM –a french organization working for the defence of fundamental rights and for better public services, gives all its support to the demonstration called for this Saturday, 15th of December and for the strike, starting 17th of December !

As part of the European network on public services, we oppose any law, such as the Hungarian and the French ones, that opens the possibility for the private insurances to finance our health care system. The members of our national parliaments, hiding behind european policies and directives, try to solve the question of financing the health insurance by convincing people that the only way is to privatize. Such laws give to private sector the opportunity to appropirate itself the public health sector as a competitive market. It’s our government’s reponsability to refuse privatization and to improve public services.

Health is a public service and a right for everyone ! It can not be in the hands of the private investors whose over riding concern is profit, not people. We support the mobilisation of the Hungarian citizens to repeal the draft law whic is a further step in the privatization.

We demand, with the Hungarian movements, that the Hungarian Parliament does not endorse the law and opens a public debate.

Paris, the 13th of december



There is no guarantee for guarantees !

The EU, GATS and the reform of the Hungarian health insurance system

In spite of massive opposition, the Hungarian government – a ‘Socialist – Liberal’ coalition - is about to pass a bill that will partially privatize the country’s National Health Insurance. The proposed scheme will introduce seven regional insurance companies, the state retaining the 51% majority stake. However, the majority of the management is to be appointed by private investors, those whose over-riding concern will be profit, not people.

All major trade union federations, leading civil society organizations and respected health sector experts have criticised the government for failing to take into account the overwhelmingly negative experience with private, profit-oriented, multi-insurer systems which has been accumulated internationally. To compound matters, this bill has been rushed through parliament without even the minimum public debate that is required according to Hungarian law. The government’s assertion that the ‘guarantees’ they have built into the law will constrain profit-oriented private interests does not satisfy opponents : they argue that these guarantees are insufficient and as soon as the market logic is introduced the push towards a more selective, a less universal and, crucially, a less socially just system will be unstoppable.

The government has also failed to consider the implications to the reforms posed by Hungary’s commitment to various international trade agreements. The WTO agreement on the liberalisation of services (GATS) is practically unheard of in Hungary, although it has been signed and ratified. In 1994 Hungary made commitments to liberalize almost the whole health care sector and it is feared that the proposed commodification will become irreversible due to GATS. The market regulations proposed by the government plans as ‘guarantees’ will also be jeopardized. However, the fact that successive governments have failed to disclose any GATS related information since 1994 means civil society is left guessing as to just how major an impact this agreement will have.

The reforms will also bring the sector under EU Competition Law which strictly restricts the extent and scope of interference from the state. Hence ‘guarantees’, that protect public interest are expected to conflict with EU regulation and, if this is the case, the EU Court may challenge and remove the planned guarantees.

Hence the promises of the government to protect the poorest sectors of society and prevent the further disintegration of the health service are not likely to be fulfilled, neither are the promises of the opposition party to reverse the privatisation process, should they come to power in the next election.

There has been an unprecedented reaction from all sectors of society opposed to the so-called reforms. While the government failed to create the necessary public debate, society has not accepted this lying down and there is a strong, not united but tactically cooperative movement determined to halt the parliamentary vote. After the first wave of strikes three weeks ago, which coincided with demonstrations against these reforms, a major union federation – LIGA – has yet again called for a countrywide strike of rail, teachers and other major unions. This takes place from the day the parliament goes to vote – December 17th. So far petitions, demonstrations, public debates, actions, strikes, action days have all failed to curtail the government’s drive towards privatization, sympathetic MP’s achieving only minor amendments which have no significant effect on the basic premise of the reforms – to remove decision making power from the state and introduce the profit motive to the health sector.

Hungarian citizens categorically reject this, polls showing that 2/3 of the populace agree with the aims of the strikes. We call upon citizen’s organizations, trade unions, health sector organizations across Europe to support the demands for the cancellation of this draft law and provision of the best levels of health care for all – as the Hungarian constitution guarantees.

Please send messages of solidarity and support for the demonstration called for this Saturday, 15th of December and for the strike, starting 17th of December ! Demand that the Hungarian Parliament does not endorse a law of which the possible benefits are dubious, while its negative impacts and enormous risks are both apparent and inevitable !

Fax : Védegylet / Protect the Future – + 36 1 269 4251
Mail : , subject : Statement of Solidarity

On Friday 14th Dec. we will publish the call together with the signed international statements of support – please take time to join us in this !

Tracey Wheatley, Gábor Scheiring, Zsolt Bóda,
December 12th, 2007

For further information :

Tracey Wheatley, Védegylet, Protect the Future, + 36 70 339 0709

Gábor Scheiring, Védegylet, Protect the Future, + 36 20 8054965