A response I posted to the Irish Times leader of Friday 21st December entitled 'A pivotal year'. Why does this leader column talk about ‘the public health system’? Presumably because there are two health systems in Ireland – the public health system, and the private health system.
But are there really two systems? After all, many medical professionals –who have been trained by the public education system- work in both systems, and patients get treated in the same hospitals regardless of who is paying for the hands that treat them. What there is, however, is two kinds of patient: a public patient, and a private patient. And under the current system, one has a greater possibility of receiving adequate care than the other.
Why does this leader column talk about ‘savings’? When you have a hospital full of sick people, and you cut resources available, what is being saved? The answer is the health of the financial sector, because the cuts –they are cuts, not savings- are being made in order for wealthy speculators, who have an interest in the privatisation of public health care, to get another payout.
Why does this column sign off with the line about the “most vulnerable in society”? Let me tell you why: because “protecting the most vulnerable” is the standard alibi used by privateers and kleptocrats who want to dismantle and sell off public services. “The most vulnerable” are nothing but the excuse used by the powerful to deny universal rights and entitlements, and to dignify themselves with a charitable glow.
If this newspaper were really interested in the protection of those most susceptible to illness and infirmity, it would point out that everyone has a right to health, and it would advocate a legal guarantee for equal access to health care. It would recognise that the health of the financial sector and the health of the population are mutually exclusive.
But it isn’t interested in any such thing, and it isn’t interested in a universal public health system, only in preventing it.