Is-servizzi tas-saħħa huma u għandhom ikunu b’xejn. Imma ma jiġux b’xejn. Hemm min jaħseb li l-ispiża li nħallsu għalihom fil-futur mhix se tkun sostenibbli. Dan hu argument diskutibbli.

M’hemmx dubju madankollu li għax iċ-ċittadin ma jħallasx għas-servizzi li jirċievi, hemm ir-riskju ta’ ħala fil-provvista ta’ mediċini jew servizzi oħra. Meta fl-1997 ipproponejna li ndaħħlu prezz simboliku għal ċerti mediċini, qam pogrom. Wara, politikanti Nazzjonalisti li kienu tawh in-nar, spiċċaw mill-gvern itellgħu kruċjati kontra l-ħala fil-qasam tas-saħħa u n-nefqa għolja li l-istat kien qed iġorr.

Saret proposta dan l-aħħar li naraha xierqa u interessanti. Din hi li waqt li l-prodotti u s-servizzi ta’ saħħa provduti mill-istat jibqgħu bla ħlas, kull ċittadin meta jgawdi minnhom, jingħata kont, imħallas bil-lest, li jurih kemm jiswew. B’hekk tqum kuxjenza li dak li qed jirċievi, ma jiġix b’xejn.

Problema waħda: il-proposta żżid l-ispiża amministrattiva fit-tmexxija tas-saħħa publika.

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Schauble u Merkel

Ir-rapporti li qed jiġu pubblikati dwar il-kanċellier Ġermaniża Merkel u l-ministru tal-finanzi tagħha Schauble jagħtu xhieda tat-tensjoni politika u soċjali li għaddejja minnha l-Ġermanja bħalissa. Id-deċiżjoni li ħadet il-kanċellier biex tiftaħ il-fruntieri ta’ pajjiżha lir-refuġjati mis-Sirja qajmet rebus. L-aktar fl-istess kamp tagħha. Fit-tmexxija materjali tat-territorju Ġermaniż qed iqumu problemi kbar biex jaraw kif ir-refuġjati se jingħataw kenn permanenti wara li jkunu waslu.

Sa ftit taż-żmien ilu, Merkel kienet mitqiesa bħala qawwija wisq; l-ebda sfida politika ma setgħet issirilha b’xi ċans ta’ suċċess. Mhux aktar. Id-diffikultà hi min jista’ jidħol minflokha. Wieħed biss hemm: Schauble għalkemm għandu aktar minn 72 sena. Kienet rebħitlu t-tellieqa għal min se jissuċċedi lil Kohl u meta xtaq isir President tal-Ġermanja ma ħallitux.

Kulħadd attent għal x’qed jgħid u ma jgħidx Schauble. Ftit qed jitkellem.

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112

F’okkażjoni interessanti li nżammet fil-Parlament Ewropew, id-deputati saru jafu aktar dwar proġett li miexi mal-Unjoni Ewropea biex il-pajjiżi membri jkollhom numru telefoniku wieħed fejn iċ-ċittadini jistgħu iċemplu meta tinqala’ emerġenza.

In-numru 112 qed jiddaħħal f’Malta wkoll għal dan l-iskop, għalkemm ninsabu ftit lura fuq pajjiżi oħra. Jidher li l-użu ta’ numru hekk għandu l-vantaġġ li għax ikun magħruf internazzjonalment, jintuża b’mod dejjem aktar effettiv. Is-servizzi ta’ emerġenza mal-Ewropa jkunu jistgħu jirreaġġixxu aktar malajr meta tqum xi problema serja għaċ- ċittadini tagħhom li jkunu msiefra per eżempju.

Servizz hekk jagħti aktar serħan il-moħħ lil dawk li jkunu barra minn pajjiżhom, ħaġa li taġevola lit-turiżmu — l-aqwa qasam tas-servizzi fl-Ewropa bħalissa.

English Version – Price of Health

Health services are and should remain free of charge. But they do carry costs. Some make the arguable claim that the expense they entail is not sustainable in the medium term.

However there can be no doubt that if one doesn’t pay for benefits received, the risk arises of waste in the provision of medicines and other services. When in 1997, we proposed the introduction of a token price for a range of free medicines, a pogrom developed. Years later, Nationalist politicians who had actively incited it, found it necessary when in government, to mount campaigns against waste in the health sector in an effort to curtail the big expenditures being incurred by the state.

An interesting and valid proposal was made quite recently: health products and services provided by the state for free should stay like that, but for every such benefit received by citizens, a pre-paid bill would be issued, detailing the cost of the transfer. In this way public awareness would be built up about the real cost of free health care.

The proposal has a flaw: it would increase the administrative costs of running the public health system.

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Schauble and Merkel

Press stories being published about Chancellor Merkel and her finance minister Schauble demonstrate the political and social tension that has been spreading in Germany. The decision taken by the Chancellor to open her country’s frontiers to Syrian refugees has sown confusion, especially in her own camp. Problems have become tough in the administration of German communities as officials try to satisfy the needs of the new arrivals, for permanent shelter and refuge.

Up to not so long ago, Merkel was considered as being in a most powerful position; no one could hope to challenge her politically with any chance of success. That’s a thing of the past. The problem is who would be ready to step in her shoes. There’s only one: Schauble despite his age at 72 years. She had beat him in the race for Kohl’s succession and had stopped him from becoming German President when he was interested in the position.

A lot of attention is being given presently to what Schauble is saying or not saying. Actually he’s been keeping quiet.

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112

At an informative session held in the European Parliament, MEPs got to know more about a project being carried out at EU level to introduce the same emergency telephone number in all member states for use by citizens.

In Malta too, 112 has been launched for this purpose, though here the project is still lagging on that of other countries. It appears that by using this one number and getting it to have have international signficance, emergency services on call are expected to become more effective. Across Europe they can react in quick mode if some serious problem occurs for their nationals when they travel abroad, for instance.

Such a state of affairs makes travellers feel more secure as they journey abroad, which is of help to tourism — now the most important service sector in Europe.