Hospodárske noviny, 18.9.2012 EN

Attorney at Law Jana Martinkova, Foto: Peter Frolo
HN (Economic News), 18/09/2012
Compensation for health insurance companies would cost us a fortune.

Subtitle:
Interview - Attorney at Law Jana Martinkova for HN (Economic News)
Source: Economic news
Topic: My Health
Date: 18/09/2012 00:00:00
Page: 23
Author: Zuzana Kullova

Interview - Attorney at Law Jana Martinkova for Hospodarske Noviny (Economic News)

In a true plural system, health insurance companies would actually have to look after their clients. Today, they only fulfill a fraction of their responsibilities.

- The cabinet has stated that they may implement unified health insurance at the start of 2014. What is your opinion on this "novelty" in practice? Does it surprise you and why?

Unfortunately, it does not surprise me at all. That would only be the case If they had a solution that was actually useful.

I cannot imagine what the government is trying to accomplish here, but it is definitely not to improve healthcare efficiency. Various groups have exploited and abused this system beyond repair, making it too deformed to boost healthcare financing.

Unified healthcare requires absolute transparency and moral maturity of its leading staff. In this case, both are missing.

- Would it be profitable for the state to invest into unified healthcare?

Unlike the "hopeful" public, I believe the investment will never return. We obviously cannot fully prevent state employees from choosing their own success over company profits.

The public believes their money will be invested more reasonably in a unified state insurance company. But ask yourselves this, does the state spend our other taxes reasonably?

- This plan apparently depends on agreements to either buy or repossess private health insurance companies. Which method do you see as realistic?

The more insurance companies refuse such agreements, the more they will profit from the whole ordeal. Repossessing them would be the most expensive due to resulting legal disputes. If we consider that the "state" may not necessarily want to win each case, the damages would be even larger.

Keep in mind the shareholder of a private insurance company did not join the market to help the public out of altruism, but to profit by exploiting the short-sighted and insufficient healthcare legislature passed in 2004.

Any agreement with private insurance companies will not only be extremely expensive, but ineffective from the view of public finance. On the other hand, if private insurance companies are simply eliminated from the sector, the government will be unable to reach its patients as expected.

Insurance companies create profit by buying 'effective' healthcare for its clients. In this case, effective means beneficial to the company.

 

Unified government insurance raises concerns about tax corruption. What should be improved to finally fix the healthcare system?


There is always more than one solution. But in the current legal state, I believe the cheapest and most effective way is to adjust the existing health insurance system until all legal requirements are met, and to finally secure the rights of the insured this time around.

 

The healthcare legislation from 2004 needs to be repaired. A clear legal framework for fair competition among insurance companies needs to be created, which has not been done to this day. And insurance companies should provide varying prices for separate levels of coverage, offer benefits, and so on.


In an adjusted plurality system, the insurance companies will have to take care of their patients and not just mine them for money. Indirectly regulated health insurance profits will only be a fraction of what they are today. Finally we will be able to say that they actually earned them.

Private health insurance companies say they want to continue in Slovakia - more companies apparently leads to better competition and thereby better healthcare.


Is unified healthcare really this dangerous?


In the current legal state, the multitude of health insurance companies is not beneficial, even though various insurance companies argue and exaggerate against this fact in their own favor. Until now they did not really miss actual competition, but suddenly there has to be a decisive argument to keep it.

I am confused why the current discussion is about plural and unified healthcare. Instead, the priority should be to improve the efficacy of public healthcare in general. We need to realize we are not at the beginning of developing our system. We already have a plural system, but it is so rudimentary that we rather see escape into a unitary system instead of fixing our current one.

Any unified system will fail without making fundamental changes to the current health insurance laws. These changes are necessary regardless whether we have unified or plural healthcare.


Creating a unified healthcare system and having to compensate private insurance companies for damages is completely redundant.