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PM Sipilä confident healthcare reform will pass

Prime Minister Juha Sipilä said he is certain the government's flagship health and social care reform will be approved despite criticism from the National Coalition Party.

Pääministeri Juha Sipilä politiikan toimittajien lounastilaisuudessa virka-asunnollaan Kesärannassa.
Image: Markku Ulander / Lehtikuva

Prime Minister Juha Sipilä remains confident that the National Coalition Party (NCP) will continue to support the government's healthcare and social reform, colloquially known as Sote.

Sipilä said he has discussed the matter with Petteri Orpo, the NCP's chairman.

”What I have been told is that the NCP parliamentary group has unanimously approved all the different phases of the reform, as have other coalition government groups,” Sipilä said.

Yesterday, MP Elina Lepomäki from the NCP said she would vote against the reform, as in her view it does not provide any savings or improve patients' standard of or access to care.

According to Sipilä, 100 percent of the Centre Party MPs stand behind the reform. However the government parties have only a narrow majority in Parliament.

Sipilä said if the flagship reform fails, the government will collapse and new elections will be called.

Criticism rebuffed

The PM rejected Lepomäki's criticism.

"There is no question that the reform will save money. Also, the freedom of choice [to select a healthcare provider] will create a completely new element for Finns, so this is a big change for citizens too," Sipilä said.

Lepomäki has pointed out that the freedom of choice provision may not be in accordance with the European Union's competition law. In that case, the government’s reform would be limited to just creating the 18 elected regional authorities, she said.

Sipilä responded by saying the matter has been examined carefully and the current evaluation is that the EU does not need to be notified about the Sote reforms.

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