Greek Health Minister: "Cancer Not Urgent Unless In Final Stages"

Tyler Durden's picture

"If you're sick in Greece, you have an expiration date," is the cheery message from Greece. As WaPo reports, while economists proclaim Europe is turning the corner, a look across the still-bleak landscape, from Greece to Spain, Ireland to Portugal, suggests a painful aftermath, where the plight of millions of Europeans is worsening even as the financial crisis passes with public health being hit in the most troubled corners of the European Union. Greece is the hardest hit and while Greek Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis is attempting to create a fund to help the most acute cases, his concluding remarks are chillingly blunt, "illnesses like cancer are not considered urgent, unless you are in the final stages."


Via WaPo,



In Spain, the government has suspended free care for illegal immigrants, begun charging seniors for a portion of their prescriptions, cut aid to the mentally ill and moved to raise co-payments for medications, prosthetics and some emergency services.


In Ireland, state assistance to the disabled has been slashed, and new rounds of cuts this year will remove some medications from the list of drugs covered by public health care while new reviews are being launched to determine whether those receiving free care are truly eligible.


Nowhere, however, has the impact been as dramatic as in Greece. Bloated, inefficient and plagued by corruption, the massive public-health system became a top target for cuts, with total health spending slashed by more than 25 percent since 2009, and more cuts are on the way this year




Stung by cutbacks in needle-exchange programs for intra­venous drug users, HIV rates have soared, Greek health officials say, forcing the government to relaunch moth-balled programs last year.




The biggest challenge is a massive increase in the uninsured.


Greece offers state-subsidized insurance for the equivalent of several hundred dollars per month. But an unemployment rate that tops 27 percent has left hundreds of thousands without the means to pay. At the same time, eligibility for free indigent care has been tightened, while co-payments for those with insurance have increased.




Greek Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis said that the government is attempting to aid the uninsured, creating a $17.6 million fund for the most acute cases, using money seized in a crackdown on tax evasion. He hopes the fund will be dramatically boosted by the end of the year


But Greeks, he said, must also understand that the public-heath system was broken before the crisis by years by mismanagement and corruption. The state was sometimes paying three to four times more than other European countries for certain prescription drugs, with middle men, doctors and pharmacies pocketing the difference. If hospitals are facing shortages, he said, it is because they are having a hard time adhering to more reasonable budgets.




Georgiadis said that emergency cases are still being treated at public hospitals irrespective of insurance status. “But,” he said, “illnesses like cancer are not considered urgent, unless you are in the final stages.”

Welcome to the recovery...

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Isotope's picture

Dear "Health Minister,"

No. Illnesses like cancer are least urgent in their final stages. It's the early stages that are most urgent, if you want any chance for a cure.

It seems like he has just admitted the the Greek health system has become one huge hospice.

Better still, go for prevention, if at all possible.

Hobbleknee's picture

Free ™ Healthcare: You get what you pay for.

Tom_333's picture

In the final analysis it always boils down to the simple fact that you can not get more health care than you (your personal insurance or increasinglys the tax-funded systestem) can afford.

johnQpublic's picture

all your death panels are belong to us.




substitute the word america for greece and spain and reread the story

...and get your meds from canada, where fewer middlemen equals cheaper drugs

imaginalis's picture

"illnesses like cancer are not considered urgent"


Unless it's him or his family, in which case, the most urgent private medicine embezzled state money can buy will be implemented.

Tom_333's picture

And...the Americans STILL do not understand that the question of their personal health care has and will be put to popular vote. And we all now how that will turn out. It will take a long , long time before the general population understands that less for him or her does not equate MOAR for me. If ever.

mjcOH1's picture

"No. Illnesses like cancer are least urgent in their final stages. It's the early stages that are most urgent, if you want any chance for a cure."


By 'urgent', he means 'get the available morphine'. The People's Healthcare Ministry will pay for some of that. Everybody in stage 4 gets their ration.

StandardDeviant's picture

Exactly.  Why is government involved in any way in the provision of health care, or health care insurance?

Why not the Ministry of Food, then?  The Ministry of Toilet Paper?  The Ministry of iPhones?  Has a century's worth of countless failed socialist experiments taught us nothing at all?

PHantomofthemarkets's picture

I have no experience with it myself but I have heard from people who tried it and it does seem to work.

ebworthen's picture

Well, until the money changers lives are in peril us Serfs will be left to suffer and die.

Grande Tetons's picture

Suffering costs money, EB. I think TBTB just want to skip the suffering and hop right on to the dying part. 

EBT...Obama phones...all that shit..just little stays of execution. I remember when I was in 4H how I groomed and pampered ole whatsername only to send her to the slaughterhouse. These fuckers are more calculating than a 12 year farmboy...I reckon. 

Cap Matifou's picture

Money changers never die from cancer, guess the reason.

"We can cure almost every cancer right now. Information is on file in the Rockefeller Institute, if it's ever decided that it should be released. But consider - if people stop dying of cancer, how rapidly we would become overpopulated. You may as well die of cancer as something else."

johnQpublic's picture

kissinger wrote a paper on this in 1974....cant remember the name, but this was covered


'short of draconian measures' was the line that sticks in my head from that paper

its 175 pages or so but worth reading....quite a roadmap of everything that ended up happening

A Nanny Moose's picture

uh...fake disease, and cures cost money. The best cure is prevention. There is 0 dollars in prevention, under the current centrally planned M.O.

detached.amusement's picture

chi gung, meditation, taiji, and a good prevention to be found.

Sinnedi's picture

But look at the clothing and outfits you get to wear! You even get to eat mock children .

Greenskeeper_Carl's picture

Bet it would be pretty urgent if it was him with early stage cancer...
Depending on a bankrupt govt for your health care is never a wise choice. At least us 'muricans aren't dumb enough to do that...oh, wait...

jez's picture

"illnesses like cancer are not considered urgent, unless you are in the final stages."


So it becomes urgent only when it's too late to do anything about it?


This Health Minister is a natural for the Greek Finance Ministry as well, as soon as there's a vacancy.


Bag Of Meat's picture

2 years ago he was a TV book seller. Seriously. You can find videos of him screaming with his piggy voice, trying to sell books about "the upcoming invasion of aliens"..

johnQpublic's picture

So it becomes urgent only when it's too late to do anything about it?



thats the way government works

Tom_333's picture

No - but then it becomes cheap. Relly cheap. Morphine doesn´t really cost many cents per tablet or vial or whatever.

earleflorida's picture

this is what sibel edmonds calls an, 'Expiration Stamp' on any entity... being a person, place or thing

note: is anybody out there having problem with keyboard?   just asking 

thankyou Tyler


UselessEater's picture

A relative in Zim was previously told to bring her own water to hospital, among daily/hourly power cuts and suspected re-used plastic syringes - she was probably safer going to a witch doctor.... the people in Europe under the EU Commission, IMF etc need to realise where they are heading and the people in Aus, Canada and US need to realise they are following the same path unless they are fortunate enough to have assets (capital we're forced to errode to survive not grow to retire on)

johnQpublic's picture

safer with a witch doctor


there is a book that covers this well, written by a famous mountain climber after witnessing a man saved on a big mountain....i just packed it away...more to traditional non-medicine medicine than is easily accepted

The Wisp's picture

If you Don't like your Health Care....  You Can't Have MY Healthcare....

kchrisc's picture

Government can only produce poverty, misery and death.

Any belief or faith otherwise is ignorance.



Son of Captain Nemo's picture

Does MYRA cover that? And if you are too young for retirement????

We're living in some "serious shit different times" people!

A Nanny Moose's picture

The answer is always yes. Over-promise, under-deliver is a sure path to re-erection.

NoWayJose's picture

And how much do you expect the US government, with $17 trillion in debt, will be able to pay for YOUR healthcare when you need it.

Ms No's picture

If their health care system is anything like ours they may just be lucky to be denied.  They could always come here to get radiated and poisoned on the tax payers dime.  Probably throw some sweet scripts in there too.  Had a friend recently get put in a wheelchair from a statin medication.

drstrangelove73's picture

Whoa.New low in incoherence.
Cancer treatment=statin myopathy...
Sounds like you are a victim of our public education system; or do you live in Colorado?

johnQpublic's picture

the greatest human being i have ever known died of the chemo, after beating the cancer

we all miss you pete millard

Ms No's picture

I have been having some interesting glitches and actually everytime I try to comment on earlflorida's comment I get that "are you sure you want to leave this page"

ebworthen's picture

That means you have typed something in the comment or reply window and are trying to leave the page, such as hitting "Backspace" while typing.

Only click on the "Save" button to submit, see if that helps (?).

johnQpublic's picture

i have had some interesting glitchez while attempting to comment

look right at the keyboard to see i'm hitting every letter, and still get bolloxed words strung together

not happening with this particular story, nor does it happen when i'm doing other work, so it is not the keyboard

reminds me of the story of the guy writing about snowden who watched his story self delete as he was writing it

and what with the watchers watching, it makes me wonder

Emergency Ward's picture

Are you sure?

usually you do want to leave...

Colonel Klink's picture

This is the future of Obamacare!

Element's picture

You think it's going to have a future mien colonelle?

OBAMAcare ... first repub prez comes along will turn it into smashed-crab, just to get rid of the name.

KickIce's picture

They'll make you wait until you're in pain then prescribe a month of painkillers for false hope and when that runs out they'll put you down like a death row prisoner with some form of lethal injection.

NOZZLE's picture

I got a terminal case of Sphynctos Blastosis from eating at Chipotle. 

Idi_ocracy's picture

Greece could reduce HIV rates if they just gave all the unemployed free weed, that would probably keep a lot of people from using hard drugs.

effendi's picture

Better yet supply plenty of hot shots onto the black market. If people are stupid enough to do heroin then let them kill themselves faster.

If you give out free weed then there will be plenty of permanently stoned people.

If you want weed then buy (or grow) your own, what takes time/effort to obtain is appreciated more.

Schmuck Raker's picture

"If you're sick in Greece, you have an expiration date,"

...unlike milk.

LetsGetPhysical's picture

Coming to a socialist utopia near you.

Escapedgoat's picture

The said Minister (In death row, when things change, from what I hear) is NOT  a socialist.

He started with HARD CORE RIGHT WING (LAOS Party) of the same Cancerous Political Bird as the LEFT WING Pasok or any Party in that Brothel called Parliament.

Same shit as in ALL Representative "Democracies" or "Republics"

I Write Code's picture

Cancer not urgent unless it's mine.

Zgangsta's picture

That claim isn't really untrue.  Statistically speaking, for those diagnosed with an early stage cancer, the prognosis doesn't change all that much if you wait a month or two before starting treatment.

As cancer diagnosis can be rather tricky, it is better to delay treatment for the purposes of getting the diagnosis right than to rush into treatment for the wrong disease.