This is how an idea that is as necessary as it is difficult to implement – the reform of the healthcare system – can be turned to dust. Pushed by the IMF and the World Bank to tighten up public expenditure, the Government, the Healthcare Ministry, to be more specific, put a simple calculation down on paper, a cold one, like any calculation, for that matter: we cut X expenses by merging/closing Y number of hospitals. That was done in total ignorance of the fact that any figure refers to people and terrible illness, fear and death histories. No reform (painful by definition) can be successfully carried out if it becomes unbearable. Then the MS should have known (and prepared in advance) that any reform will be opposed by an important segment of the population – in this particular case doctors, hospital staff and scared patients. It was but natural for the opposition politicians to hit the ceiling. It was expected that the hostile media would multiply and enhance to the point of hysteria the consequences of a measure thrown into the world like a nebula.
For that reason, hospital system reform should have been carefully prepared. (In Poland which is often mentioned as a country that seems to not have been affected by the crisis, the shock therapy in the early 1990s, only now known to Romania, included a constant and minute information programme: Labour Minister Jacek Kuron was non-stop on TV giving explanations – ‘the soup of the poor’ – on the measures to be taken, why they had to be taken and how difficult it would get on people). In Romania, all that Minister Cseke did was post something on the website, mumble something briefly on the TV and, when the real scandal went off on April 1 – what a lack of inspiration, isn’t it? – he literally hid and let us all watch on television barbarian scenes with newborns thrown out in the street, dead people, the howling and screaming of all those human beings beaten by fate who were getting yet another blow out of the blue. A deadly one, too. Cseke is not a doctor, he is a lawyer. And he inspires no trust whatsoever. And he apparently knows that very well, so he thought it would be better to just send Raed Arafat to deal with the huge scandal he had set in motion from his ministerial office where he is probably still mumbling something right now as we speak. (‘Revista 22’)