One of the first moves of the SYRIZA-led government following its inauguration was to abolish the 5-euro admission fee for patients at public hospitals – effectively demonstrating its populist credentials.
No one, however, took the time to ask hospital directors about the wisdom of the decision. While the amount collected by state hospitals was quite low and those unable to pay were exempt, revenues from the admission fee covered a number of needs, especially given the huge delays in state funding.
Since the abolition of the fee, its impact has become clear. Blaming the country’s creditors for demanding its return – which is what Health Minister Panayiotis Kouroublis did on Monday – might offer the government a way out, but the argument does not do it justice.
It would be preferable for the administration to admit its mistake, restore the fee and do everything in its power to secure a good national health system for all.