Starvation wages and miserable pensions, insecurity and poor jobs are pushing Italians to give up on health checks and treatments, or to go into debt, in order to have access to tests and sometimes vital surgeries. According to the Censis-Rbm Health Insurance report, presented Wednesday, in 2016, 12 million Italians forfeited or postponed at least one health service for economic reasons: 1.2 million more than in 2015.
There are 7.8 million citizens who have used their savings or have taken on debt from banks or relatives in order to have access to private health services with cannot be postponed. Nearly two million have dropped below the poverty line.
Cuts and “rationalization” of health spending implemented over the past decade, coinciding with the austerity policies, have reduced public coverage and increased the use of private health care. This sector accounts for almost €35.2 billion with a record increase of 4.2 percent over the three-year period 2013-2016. According to the Court of Auditors, Italy has passed the European record in per capita reduction of health spending: 1.1 percent less per year, compared to GDP, from 2009 to 2015. In France, this expenditure rose by 0.8 percent a year and in Germany, by 2 percent.