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Kill the Portuguese!

doctorpaedoThey do not say, but they do it! Years ago, at a meeting in N.Y., someone from an investment fund explained this. In the monetarist school only those who are very productive, 20-45 years old, may get public support, writes Jack Soifer.

The top users at a Public Health Service, are elderly, then children. For speculative funds, the PHS should focus on emergencies. People must pay health insurance, often it’s tax deductible. Most of the insurers refuse to reimburse some of the expenses. Desperate patients pay, then they invest time, money and effort in a process that takes years. Many give up, the emotional cost is too great.

In Portugal, insurers have grown wildly in 15 years. Previously, they were, as in many countries, med-coops. Then corporations with access to funds popped up. Now foreign funds own most insurers and hospital networks. They know zero about medicine. Is it not strange that the previous Minister of Health came from a bank? And that the current one has worked for 20-years at a financial group?

Since 2011 the Ministry has a policy against the PHS. "It's an intentional collapse," say doctors who still operate there. “In public they earn €2,500 to €3,000 per month, in private, €6,000. Hence, the best and the young, after acquiring experience, leave. The worst are left, trainees and those over 55 who are waiting for retirement.

What revolts doctors is a lock on nano-expenses, such as spare parts and maintenance; they cost little but can wait 6 months for the OK. Hundreds of expensive pieces of equipment is waiting for Finanças to hire the assembler. The computer system often does not work; printers do not print, etc.

"What revolts docs is a lock on nano-expenses such as spare parts and maintenance; they cost little but can wait 6 months for the OK"

Faro had 27 orthopedists, now it has only 4. It had 10 ophthalmologist, now 3. The chief of gynecology, who guides 4 students, earns, for love of his vocation, €2,500 a month when he could earn €5,500 to €6,000 privately and with better working conditions. Finanças pays 40% more to private hospitals than the cost of the same surgery in the public system.

Private hospitals are geared solely for profit. When a patient is reaching the limit of what the insurance covers, he is sent to the public hospital. For an image that they are social, some private hospitals receive students; these mostly do nursing jobs, learn little from clinic chiefs who must care for many patients per hour to optimise profit.

In practice two ministers do what the speculative funds want: kill the least productive, spend less on the public, to profit from the private. This profit goes abroad!

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