PM Has Doubts About Health Care Petition - The Reykjavik Grapevine

PM Has Doubts About Health Care Petition

Published January 25, 2016

Photos by
Magnus Fröderberg/norden.org

While the Prime Minister agrees with increasing health care funding, he does not feel it should be bound to a particular percentage of the GDP. The actual figures cited on a recent petition calling for increased funding have been called into question.

As reported, a petition that was started by deCODE CEO Kári Stefánsson, Endurreisn, (“Restoration”), contends that Iceland only spends about 8.7% of its GDP on health care; lower than any other Nordic country. This contention is based on figures from a 2015 OECD report on the matter, which uses figures from 2013, with the petition asserting that Iceland should spend 11% of its GDP on health care.

Vísir reports that Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, while supporting the idea of increasing funding to health care, is hesitant to name an exact number. Furthermore, he has cast doubts on the figures cited in the petition.

The Prime Minister points out data from the World Bank, which contends Iceland spends 9.1% of its GDP on health care. In addition, spending more on health care does not necessarily equate better health care: the United States, while lacking a universal health care system, is second only to Tuvalu in terms of percentage of GDP spent on health care: 17.1%. Countries that have achieved the 11% mark include Sierra Leone, Moldova, Leshoto and Rwanda.

Close to 45,000 people have already signed the petition in the past three days alone. How exactly the government intends to respond, if at all, still remains to be seen.

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