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More than 41,000 Sign Health Care Petition

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More than 41,000 Sign Health Care Petition

Kári Stefánsson

Kári Stefánsson. Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

More than 41,000 people have signed a petition demanding that Alþingi, the Icelandic parliament, allocate 11 percent of the country’s annual GDP toward healthcare instead of the current 8.7 percent. The petition was initiated by Dr. Kári Stefánsson, CEO of deCode Genetics.

He first mentioned the idea for a petition in a RÚV interview last year, when he stated that an additional ISK 150-200 billion was needed to bring it to par with the health care systems of our neighboring nations. At that time, he said he was convinced that 95 percent of the nation wanted to increase funding for healthcare substantially.

According to the research of Rúnar Vilhjálmsson, professor of sociology at the University of Iceland, the country ranks 23rd among OECD member nations in terms of its health care expenditure as a percentage of GDP. At the turn of the century, however, it ranked sixth. Sweden spends 11 percent of its GDP on healthcare, while Denmark spends 10.4 percent.

According to a poll conducted by the School of Social Sciences at the University of Iceland, over 90 percent of adults in Iceland support increased allocation of resources toward healthcare. Likewise, there is overwhelming support for socialized medicine, where healthcare is mostly funded by the government and hospitals and healthcare clinics are run by the government.

Kári told mbl.is the petition’s aim is to help us realize how we want to define ourselves as a society. “We must show more kind-heartedness toward those less able.”

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