Finns are becoming increasingly impatient to queue for health service and many would rather pay the money to see a private physician than wait in line for treatment.
The government wants to slow this health privatisation trend and has threatened to make further cuts to the Finnish Social Insurance Institution Kela's reimbursements for private visits.
While public health centre visits have declined by two million in ten years, private practitioners report an increase of three million in the same period. Kela picks up a fifth of the price of a private doctor’s visit.
"We're the only country with this type of multi-channel system, and it's been criticised by the OECD," said Minister of Health and Social Services Maria Guzenina-Richardson.
The Finnish Medical Association, representing the country’s physicians, takes an opposite opinion and wants to see Kela reimbursements rise. The medical profession watchdog says the Finnish public health system is already buckling under its own weight.
End of universal healthcare?
The popularity of private health insurance has grown as more Finns choose to be treated privately. Today many parents even opt to insure the health of their unborn children.
"If your child needs ear tubes, queues in the public system can stretch to three months, which is plenty of time for new ear infections," says Annika Liikanen, who insured her child before birth.
Insurance companies are meanwhile looking to limit the number of health policies, which have become a money drain for providers.
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