OPINION

Inequality in cases of life or death?

State television broadcast a very interesting documentary on Sunday about the private ambulance firms operating here now. Some businessmen have decided to exploit the gaps left in the market by the National First Aid Center (EKAB) by transferring patients in specially equipped vehicles for 60 euros a go. Naturally, EKAB unionists are up in arms about the whole affair, condemning the private ambulances for being inadequately equipped. It is difficult to know whether these accusations are justified. But what is more noteworthy is the conviction expressed by unionists that the operation of private ambulances violates citizens’ equality in health matters. These unionists want the abolition of a law allowing private ambulances to transfer patients. With respect for the goal of equality promoted by unionists, something needs to be clarified. In this case, we are not talking about equality in health matters. Considering that the shortfalls of the state system have offered fertile ground for private firms to operate, we are talking about equality when facing the prospect of death. Unfortunately, equality is an overused term, often distorted. In this case, instead of looking for ways to help state ambulances become as efficient as private ones, unionists are effectively insisting that all ambulances run at the same, sometimes slow, speed. If we can’t have equal opportunities in access to healthcare, at least we can have equality when facing a life-or-death situation. This conviction is convenient as it removes the pressure of competition. A similar conviction exists among university professors.