Wed, 04 Aug 2021

HELSINKI, June 23 (Xinhua) -- Finnish parliament on Wednesday green-lighted a health care reform described by Prime Minister Sanna Marin as "historic."

According to the bills, the reform accentuates the role of the public sector as the health care provider while defining that of the private sector as auxiliary.

Besides, the reform taking effect in 2023 will transfer the responsibility of providing health and social services to the provincial level from 320 municipalities. At the provincial level, there will be 21 welfare regions plus the capital Helsinki area. The current government is planning a provincial tax system to finance the services. The overall taxation level would not increase, though.

One of the underlying needs for the reform was the slow access to public primary medical care. The inefficiency has reportedly delayed diagnosis, at times with fatal impact.

Efforts to amend the Finnish health and welfare system had continued since 2006, but no reforms had reached the parliamentary vote stage due to constitutional law problems or political disagreements.

Following Wednesday's parliamentary vote, Marin hailed in social media the reform as "historic." However, the opposition criticized the reform for lack of incentives for the public sector to become more efficient. The influential think tank EVA said the public sector does not have the resources to improve primary care.

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