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Aetna Pull-Out Defeat For Health Privatisation


“The decision of Aetna, one of the largest American health multi-nationals, to pull out of New Zealand represents a big defeat for those who wish to privatise our public health system,” said Mr Ian Powell, Executive Director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, today.

Mr Powell was commenting on the announcement of the planned take-over of Aetna’s New Zealand subsidiary by Southern Cross. Aetna owns a private health insurance company and has invested in the ownership of two large GP organisations, First Health and Prime Health.

“Aetna came to New Zealand because they believed the commercialisation of the public health system in the 1990s would allow them to make large profits. But the new Labour-Alliance government’s decision to end this commercialisation is bad for their profit raking attempts.”

“Up until last year Aetna was using the label of ‘integrated care’ to disguise its privatisation agenda. About 18 months ago it came close to controlling key funding for Tauranga Hospital. Now this big business has lost their financial incentive.”

“Times have certainly changed. While the threat of privatisation has not fully disappeared, the Aetna pull-out is a major body blow to those who wish to make a buck out of our public health system,” concluded Mr Powell.

Ian Powell

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