It’s established that deregulation is at the heart of TTIP. Deregulation will liberalise, or open up, service markets.
Included in these markets are public services, such as healthcare and water provision. These are considered public monopolies and therefore exempt from forced privatisation under current EU legislation.
Water first, then healthcare –
Irish Water was set up to recover the costs of water services. Although we already pay for our water through general taxation, a process the envy of other nations, the bailout allowed the EU to force the business entity that is Irish Water into existence.
If TTIP is negotiated to a successful conclusion, Irish water will not just be privatised, the provision of water in Ireland will be opened up to competition, allowing foreign companies to profit from a natural resource for which we’ve already been paying an average of approximately 600 Euros per household, per year, since 1997.
Because TTIP is designed to remove barriers that diminish profit for business, the cost of water will obviously and inevitably rise. That’s why the Irish Exemption from the EU’s Water Framework Directive became null and void.
The Water Charge currently in the process of being unjustly enforced by the government of Ireland will pale into insignificance following ratification of TTIP.
This strengthens the argument for wide scale prevention of meter installation.
The EU has, and will claim that public services such as healthcare provision will be excluded from TTIP negotiations.
This is utterly misleading.
The EU has decided upon and is actively negotiating the removal of such exemptions, abusing it’s own narrow definition of ‘public utility exemption’ to exclude only security related services. If this process is completed we will be citizens of a Europe that polices but does not protect.
Think about that.
The American government has publicly confirmed that TTIP will be used to allow American companies benefit from the opening up of service markets.
In terms of healthcare provision, this will allow foreign corporations with the financial clout to underbid for government contracts access to the business of healthcare provision currently managed by the state through the HSE. As a direct result of this, the quality of healthcare received will depend only on one’s ability to pay.
Because TTIP is being negotiated in secret and because its goal is capital gain, we do not know which of our public services are being offered as incentives, but the American negotiators have made no secret of their wish to prise open the healthcare market to exploitation.
The HSE is Ireland’s largest employer with 67,000 direct employees and over 33,000 associated employees. It’s annual budget is in excess of 13 Billion Euros, but despite the unnecessary withdrawal of medical cards, the reduction and outsourcing of services and the loss of over 10,000 workers in the last three years it is still underfunded, overstretched and mismanaged.
The 33,000 associated workers, such as catering and maintenance staff, work for companies that will disappear in the face of TTIP sponsored competition from American corporations whose priorities are the profitability of healthcare provision, not the quality or accessibility of that healthcare.
These are the same corporations that lobbied so incessantly, and to the tune of 1 Million Dollars per day in costs to prevent the provision of free healthcare to Americans living below the poverty line.
Understand – the HSE is exactly the type of organisation TTIP negotiators identify as ripe for profit extraction. A successful TTIP will eventually and inevitably remove the responsibility for provision of healthcare from the governments of all EU member states.
There are other serious implications, such as the loss of HSE trained staff to private healthcare providers, the option for privatised healthcare to jettison unprofitable services which will by necessity be forced back into the remit of the HSE, the inevitable rise in administration costs for healthcare provision in a two tier system and the impact of that cost on public health and the absolute and stated fact that TTIP will harmonise the provision of healthcare by EU member states with that of the USA, consistently voted and acknowledged as the worst healthcare system in the developed world.
To those of you on a crusade against cronyism and corruption in Irish politics, this is where you join the dots on the government’s recent decision to offload the Beacon Private Hospital at a significantly reduced price to Ireland’s biggest crony and the sixth largest borrower from the toxic Anglo bank.
Understanding TTIP should magnify the reasons for the bus drivers’ decision to engage strike action in protest against the privatisation of 10% of Bus Eireann’s routes.
It should bring into sharp focus the Department of Finance’s list of state owned assets touted for privatisation; this list included, but was not limited to Bord Gais, the ESB, Iarnrod Eireann, Bord na Mona and Coillte, as well as Dublin, Cork and Shannon Airports.
That’s over 10,000 workers under direct threat from TTIP and, since that list was compiled Bord Gais is gone and the ESB hung out to dry.
This brings us all the way back to the bailout, with half of the proceeds from the sale of any and all state assets already earmarked for debt repayment. We should not need reminding that state uses 13% of all taxes gathered to service the debt from that bailout.
Privatisation in relation to TTIP will simply remove responsibility for societal welfare and heritage protection from the state while allowing the government more money to repay a debt we did not accrue.
It’s no wonder TTIP is being negotiated in secret.
I’m going to vomit. Time for a full stop.