When you can no longer hold politicians accountable, they stop explaining themselves to you. (Propaganda doesn’t count.) And when they are no longer accountable, they don’t feel like they owe you information on what happens to you next.
So you are left with guesswork and Kremlinology.
This is the case with Orbán and healthcare. He has been punishing the state healthcare system for a decade and kept hinting at some master plan that involves his hand-picked oligarchs, cronyism and what he calls “superhospitals”, but the public is not allowed to know anything. The ungrateful serfs would just find something to criticize, misled by the opposition, totally unfairly, so why tell them? Vassals are not there to know what is coming.
As a result, we are reduced to Kremlinology and seeking signs and patterns of what may be unfolding around us. This is not a healthy mental state to be in.
Being reduced to helpless Kremlinology would be business as usual, except that Orbán chose to deliver the final blow to medical professionals in the middle of a pandemic, when they would be evil to make a fuss and stop working. Counting on their sense of duty and mission, their exhaustion, their inertia and their Stockholm syndrome, Orbán gave until midnight, the 1st of March for them to sign their new enslavement contracts that puts them into a quasi-military status, doesn’t allow them to resign and makes them subject to commands and replacement within the country at any time.
But what is the master plan?
- Knowing Orbán it is paternalistic, gloating and looks down on everyone who is involved in healthcare, from know-it-all doctors to sinful patients who surely have brought their health problems on themselves. (Like growing a pot belly.)
- The plan must also include juicy public money for Orbán’s hand-picked oligarchs.
- It must also sound appealing to the ears of corrupt European and American “conservatives”. So it will be called “private” because that always gives them a political erection, even when it is cronyism. Especially when it’s cronyism.
- But it will not be really private, only some kind of mixed and corrupt system that allows public funds to flow to cronies with a holy excuse.
- What can be done to us, will be done to us. Stop hoping for Orbán taking our interest in mind. (Actually, any politician.)
I have been following some odd phenomena for a while, waiting for the reason behind them to become visible. Like I said, Kremlinology.
One of these things is Orbán’s tall promise to have “superhospitals” built, even though it is unclear where they would find people to work in them.
Given the shortage of professionals across the country, the ageing staff and the system barely running on the self-exploitation of everyone involved (apart from Orbán), it sounds like yet another stealing opportunity, where the usual cronies get juicy contracts to build big and overpriced buildings to the proposed “superhospitals” – and then come what may. They may even buy diagnostic equipment in it, Siemens, for instance, is known to play the kickback game well so that might be alluring for cronies.
But the human resources needed to run these fancy new hospitals? Well, maybe they are created right before our eyes, with the new law, forbidding multiple jobs.
When a state healthcare professional is forced to choose between the barely paid state job and a slightly better paid one at the new, private (crony) “superhospitals”, it is a no-brainer.
At the same time, the re-nationalized (by Orbán) energy provider, MVM, is calling its captive customers promoting private health insurance from the company of Orbán’s top crony and alleged business front. Forget GDPR, data theft is only punishable by law if it is committed by the opposition and your data with the state supplier is Orbán’s.
Private health insurers have been legally allowed to start offering insurances in 2019 – and back then no one understood why, not even the insurers themselves. Tellingly, they saw the law but were afraid to jump on the opportunity, because they didn’t think Orbán meant what the law meant, and political will trumps legal texts. They thought the new law would be scrapped when the king realizes that it accidentally allowed private health insurance to exist. (This is where we live now, when even massive insurance companies with legal firepower don’t dare to do what they are legally allowed to do because they suspect that the political will of the ruler might be different, and that’s what matters.)
Then there was another phenomenon. It true, gloating autocrat fashion, Orbán dropped from universal state insurance everyone who can’t pay for it. 700 000 people were left without health insurance in the middle of the pandemic. (The country has 9.7 million inhabitants.) Even if you are unemployed and have no income, you are required to pay into the social security to keep your insurance number and have access to the crumbling state healthcare.
So the master plan now looks like this:
- The “needy” is out of the equation, they are not useful serfs. They can die and it will be their fault, they have zero political clout.
- The working bees are still paying into the crumbling state system, but that must never mean more money for hospitals.
- Those who can afford it, will be forced to go private and pay for it on top of their mandatory state social security.
The question is who goes into state hospitals anymore if the institution is hollowed out by dropping the needy and coercing the better-off into private hospitals?
In a true, vile, gloating, kleptocratic, authoritarian fashion the problem is solved. For him.