“Health is a human right and is not for sale or for trade. The health system exists to keep our families safe and healthy, not to ensure the profits of large corporations.” — Rosa Pavanelli, General Secretary, Public Services International.
Ottawa (05 Feb. 2015) — Public Services International (PSI) reports that a leaked document reveals that the Trade in Service Agreement (TiSA) is aiming to commodify health care services globally, with higher costs for governments and poorer performance for patients, to the benefit of large health corporations and insurance companies.
Corporations and insurance companies to benefit from privatization of health care services
“The proposal would raise health care costs in developing countries and lower quality in developed countries in Europe, North America, Australia and elsewhere,” explains Dr. Odile Frank, who has analyzed the document for PSI.
The proposal, reportedly tabled by the government of Turkey, was discussed by European Union member states last September at the Geneva TISA negotiations. It suggests an annex on health care services in the TiSA that would promote offshoring by facilitating patients’ travel abroad to access health services.
Inequality willl rise if profit enteres the system through TiSA
According to PSI, the TiSA proposal assumes that health services are a commodity like any other that can be handled by the market. Establishing trade in health services ignores public health aspects and will exacerbate inequality.
“Health is a human right and is not for sale or for trade. The health system exists to keep our families safe and healthy, not to ensure the profits of large corporations,” says Rosa Pavanelli, PSI General Secretary.
While the solutions proposed would benefit wealthy consumers and private health firms, analysis from Professor Jane Kelsey, an expert on trade in services, suggests that money will be drawn out of the national health system “whose low level of investment is cited as one of the rationales for offshore treatment, and makes the problem self-perpetuating.”
The National Union of Public and General Employees is an active member of the PSI.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE