Featured image – Source: Punalippu
In 2021, the social-democrat led government of Sanna Marin brought the so-called social- and healthcare reform, which has been on the agenda of different Finnish governments since 2006, to some kind of an ending point. Through the reform, the responsibility of organizing social- and healthcare as well as emergency services was transferred from municipalities to the so-called ”welfare areas” which comprise larger areas and have their own government, elected in the regional elections. The reform became reality in January 2023, and already the ”welfare areas” are 1,2 billion Euros in deficit this year. It was said that the reform will improve services, but now the areas have announced cuts to ”solve” the issue of the deficit – which was the purpose all along.
The so-called ”welfare State”, which is built on the exploitation of the oppressed nations, is in deep crisis in accordance to the general crisis of imperialism. Less children are born in imperialist countries such as Finland, and the population is becoming older, and is in need of care. The deficit per person is especially dire in more peripheral areas, in which the population is shrinking and aging. For a long time, the care services in these areas have been getting worse. The cuts will make the services even worse, at extreme shutting down public healthcare centers completely in some municipalities, which means that the residents have to travel further to get treatment.
The regional elections were created to organize a show that would give legitimacy to the cuts and create an illusion of “more democracy” when in fact more power was centralized to the Finnish government and the financial ministry. Punalippu quotes a statement issued by the Maoist Committee in Finland before the regional elections of 2022:
“The election takes place as the result of the partial so-called social- and healthcare reform, which according to the reaction is needed in order to “adapt” the services as the population ages and moves to more central places. These elections will be used to justify cuts which have already been decided in the financial ministry. (…) When it has been decided to redivide the existing resources, then however they will be divided, there will always be costs. The new governmental apparatus also will produce costs, so the so-called “cost neutrality” will impulse even larger cuts.”
Maoist Committee in Finland also points out that the reform impulses state-monopoly capitalism and gives the opportunity for both non-state monopolies and state monopolies to increase their profits with the help of the new laws which advance the re-division of the market.
The Parties which finalized this reform now sit in the opposition, and now pretend to be shocked over the need for cuts, and try to blame the current government for a reform they made. Punalippu highlights that no such parliamentary shows will fool the masses who already rejected the whole reform, with only 47,5% of those eligible to vote voting in the regional elections. In the deepening general crisis of imperialism, all reforms of the bourgeoisie only mean deterioration, as the fundamental problem of the “welfare” being built on exploitation remains.