Public vs. private healthcare
All citizens of our country have the right to access public healthcare, which, despite its shortcomings, is considered one of the most efficient in the world. Even so, the collapse of primary care has meant that the number of users of private health services is increasing year after year. Iu Alemany, Director of Back Office and Customer Service at 11Onze, proposes some concepts, so we can continue a recurring debate.
According to a study carried out in 2022 by the IDIS Foundation, the private healthcare sector accounts for 29.4% of total healthcare spending in Spain. This figure has risen to 33,398 million euros, representing 2.7% of GDP, which added to public-private collaboration totals 3.36% of GDP.
The increased purchasing power of the population and long waiting lists have highlighted the advantages of private healthcare. Even so, the collapse of public healthcare and the large number of people taking out low-priced private health insurance just to access diagnostic tests, or for specialities such as dermatology, gynaecology or pneumatology, is also putting pressure on the private sector. As Alemany explains, “with private healthcare you have direct access to the specialist, but appointments are not so immediate, and there are more and more waiting lists”.
Private healthcare as a complement to public healthcare
Although budget cuts and lack of investment have highlighted the limitations of public healthcare, the pandemic has accentuated its importance. As Alemany points out, “what would have happened if it had been managed solely and exclusively by private healthcare? It scares me to think about it”.
The quality of healthcare and the greater investment in medical equipment in the public sector means that it has better resources and specialists to treat the most serious illnesses. This means that, in the event of complications, even private insurance companies refer their patients to the public sector.
On the other hand, the business model of private healthcare is based on profit and economic profitability, leaving aside the principles of solidarity in public healthcare. However, in the current context, it is clear that collaboration between the two models is necessary to guarantee the viability of the healthcare system, at least until public healthcare has the funding it deserves.