Currently in Poland there's a lot of discussion about the healthcare system. Poland has a mostly state-run healthcare. Not only the health insurance is public, even the hospitals are operated by the government. The former is probably a good idea, considering how horrible the healthcare system is in the only developed country where it is privately run. The latter is a relic of the Communist era which refuses to die.
In the last few months doctors and other healthcare workers were constantly protesting, demanding increased government spending on health care - primarily demanding better salaries. The media completely failed to do their job and didn't provide any real data on health care or health care financing whatsoever. We bloggers need to fill in the gap.
The data wasn't particularly hard to find. It's available from WHO European health for all database (HFA-DB). The comparison is for all 12 "New EU" countries in group and individually, plus "Old EU" and "EU total". I didn't include old EU countries here, as their situation is significantly different, so it wouldn't be particularly meaningful.
|Country||Life expectancy (2005)||Infant mortality per 1000 births (2005)||Healthcare spending as % of GDP (2004)||Healthcare spending in USD PPP (2004)|
* - data for 2004
The spending figures are total spending - that is public + private. As you can see healthcare in Poland is somewhat better and somewhat cheaper than "new EU" average. It's still far behind the old EU, but it's not really a crisis situation, especially since the results are improving and the spending is increasing - between 2000 and 2005 life expectancy increased 73.95 to 75.12, infant mortality fell 8.11 to 6.42. Between 2000 and 2004 spending increased as percent of GDP from 5.7 to 6.2, and in USD PPP from 587 to 814.
So the protests seem to be primarily politically motivated. The situation is fairly good compared to other countries in similar situation and is steadily improving. Another thing strongly implying political motivation is the sudden support for the protesting doctors from the normally vehemently anti-union opposition party Platforma Obywatelska.