The Associated Press and various agencies published an article a week or so ago about some apparent changes in the free health care in Cuba.
Although it’s “free”, we have talked to a number of people who say that they have to bribe specialists to treat serious matters, that there are no clean, new instruments, bed coverings, etc., and that free isn’t necessarily good. The writer of the article says, “Scarcities now are common and sanitary conditions fall short of the ideal in decaying facilities where paint peels from the walls. Patients often bring their own bed sheets, electric fans, food and water for hospital stays.”
For years, Cuba has allowed its doctors to leave the country for Venezuela and other countries.
According to the article, “Cuba’s system of free medical care, long considered a birthright by its citizens and trumpeted as one of the communist government’s great successes, is not immune to cutbacks under Raul Castro’s drive for efficiency.”
Cuba’s financial crisis has resulted in a number of changes. One might think the changes are a positive move away from communism, but that doesn’t seem to be the intention. The firing of numerous workers and expecting them to become entrepreneurs, the improvement of service at restaurants (to improve the attitude of tourists), and other moves all seem to be efforts to reduce the outflow. The Cuban government has to be worried about the future of Venezuelan support.
The writer of the article said, “The health sector has already endured millions of dollars in budget cuts and tens of thousands of layoffs…” “… the newspaper voice of the Communist Party, Granma, published daily details for two weeks on how much the government spends on everything from anesthetics and acupuncture to orthodontics and organ transplants.”
The government seems to want to “discourage frivolous use of medical services….”
The writer says that the propaganda currently being disseminated about how much health care costs is a precursor to some serious limitations on health care for Cubans.
I ran a google search using the words "Cuban Hospital", and was shocked by what I saw.
This is what you will see: And clicking on the pictures provides much more information.