A video of a woman calling out the government for healthcare failures has gone viral on Facebook, with over 180,000 views.
Ástrós Rut Sigurðardóttir and her family are struggling to manage financially as they drown under her husband Bjarki’s medical bills which run into the hundreds of thousand krónas.
“I’m not sad,” Ástrós explains tearfully while flipping through pages and pages of bills. “I’m angry. How is this legal? My husband is being abused. An incredibly sick cancer-riddled man. He’s being abused. We’re supposed to be getting this for free. How long have I been paying taxes [towards our universal healthcare system]? How long have all of us, all Icelanders, been paying taxes? Our universal healthcare service is meant to be free.”
“It isn’t only my family that’s paying out of its own wallet. Other families are struggling to put food on the table for their children because they have stacks of medical bills,” Ástrós Rut continues. “So I’m calling out the government. There are other things that matter besides your new ministerial car fleets and pay rises. I think your priorities are absolutely bonkers.”
The Minister for Health, Óttarr Proppé told RÚV that he’d seen Ástrós’ video and found it profoundly sad.
“It’s with a heavy heart that I heard about this story, to know that this is something that’s happening in a country that’s meant to be rich,” said Óttarr. “A new healthcare payment system is coming into effect on May 1st which will stipulate that no person be forced to pay more than 50.000 ISK for healthcare over a 12 month period.”
According to Óttarr, children, the disabled and seniors spend on average 33.000 ISK on healthcare per year meaning those with extraordinarily expensive illnesses, like cancer or other chronic conditions will have financial relief once they reach the 50.000 ISK cap.