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Yvonne Monteverde's blog
Yvonne Monteverde from Copenhagen, Denmark
Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2010
In my Health Economics and Policy class, we were able to visit Parliament (after going through security of course) and visit a member of the Danish People’s party. Because it was after hours, we were not able to see parliament in action, but he took us on a tour of where major discussions were held, where President Obama will visit when he comes to Denmark to discuss climate change. Apparently the press also has a room and they may follow you around Parliament, except in your office. What I thought most interesting, were the constant “open” elevators going up and down. You could simply jump in, and that’s exactly what members of parliament did.
Once inside a meeting room, he discussed with our class how implementation occurred, what his job was, which included talking to people from different interest groups about what issues to prioritize. He spoke to us about how more and more privatization in Denmark is taking place, and he disagreed with it. The system here works as follows: if you are not able to have an operation before a certain time period, you are welcome to go to a private clinic for the operation. The problem, he emphasized, is that private hospitals are reimbursed excessively by the Danish government for these operations. He felt that if there must be private companies, to have them be a separate entity, and not overcharge their fee for service. I asked him what he felt was not being emphasized enough in discussions, and he mentioned prevention of diseases. Although we learned in class that government's most important health priorities include cancer treatment and budget allocation, prevention was just not enough.