Since this past Monday, the majority of Private Hospitals in Lebanon are refusing to treat National Social Security Fund’s (NSSF) patients. The private hospitals said that they will only receive critical cases such as patients with heart conditions or injuries from accidents. The rest will be directed to Government Hospitals. Their reason: “current rates offered by the NSSF are no longer acceptable since the cost of medical treatment has risen sharply over the past years.” It is to note that the NSSF provides medical and social benefits to more than 1.3 million Lebanese. According to a study done by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2000, there are a total of 167 hospitals with 11,533 beds in Lebanon. Twelve percent of the hospitals and ten percent of the beds are in the public sector. The beds are not uniformly distributed. All of the hospitals with over two hundred beds are in the private sector. For those interested in this study which explains the fragmented Lebanese health care system, you can download or read it on this link.
The Private Hospitals are saying that rates offered by the NSSF for its patients treated in private hospitals have not changed for the past 15 years, noting that hospitals could no longer afford to treat these patients, especially since the government raised the salaries of staff four months ago. The NSSF says that if they have to meet the new demands of the private hospitals, that will widen its huge deficit which has already reached alarming levels. In short, the NSSF is about to reach the point where it will not be able to provide any medical and social services for the beneficiaries; the private sectors will only treat 2 cases and the rest will be sent to Public Hospitals who lack beds, staff, equipment and quality. While the Lebanese are divided over religion and political lines (yeah and as I mentioned before, they are busy taking the streets in support or against Bashar al-Assad regime), finally something will unite them. Regardless of their religions, sects and political affiliations, they will be sent like sheep to slaughter. If they do not have money to pay for the private hospitals, they will be transferred to Public hospitals even if the hold their NSSF cards.
The coffin makers and grave diggers are waiting for the Lebanese people. They will put the supporters of March 14 and March 8 close together and none of them will object. My deepest condolences dear Lebanese but finally you will be united underground.