Petteri Orpo (NCP), the Minister of Finance, has raised eyebrows among his fellow legislators by estimating that obliging counties to incorporate their social and health care service providers under certain circumstances would be in violation of the Constitution of Finland.
“I’m sure we’re all aware of the fact that these so-called forced incorporations aren’t in compliance with the constitution,” he stated in the Parliament on Tuesday.
The obligation was introduced to the bill to reform the social and health care system in order to, first, guarantee a level playing field for public and private service providers and, second, ensure patients have genuine freedom to choose their service provider.
The bill, in turn, is closely associated with the mooted reform of regional governance, which would establish 18 counties in an attempt to clarify the division of responsibilities between the municipal, regional and central administration. The counties would be made responsible for organising rescue, and social and health care services, for example.
The forced incorporations, as such, were never an objective for the National Coalition, reminded Orpo.
“If there’s a need to change [the incorporation], we’ll change it. But we won’t compromise on the freedom of choice. The government has committed to that as part of the overall solution. That’s something we’ll carry out. We’ll find a way to realise the freedom of choice,” he stated according to YLE.
The Parliament’s Constitutional Law Committee is expected to comment on the draft bills on both the regional government reform, and the social and health care reform on Friday, 30 June.
Tuula Haatainen (SDP), the chairperson of the Parliament’s Social Affairs and Health Committee, estimated in an interview with Demokraatti on Tuesday that it is peculiar for a cabinet member to make such a statement before receiving the report from the Constitutional Law Committee.
“I believe this undermines the Constitutional Law Committee's capacity to act. Ministers should understand that,” she stated to the official mouthpiece of the Social Democratic Party.
Mikko Kärnä (Centre), in turn, pointed out that the obligation was introduced to the reform bill at the initiative of the National Coalition.
“I want to warmly congratulate the National Coalition for the U-turn made by its chairperson. With the incorporation obligation set to be removed, it is easy to support the [reform] as a whole,” he wrote in a blog on Puheenvuoro.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Linda Manner – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi