Mission News Network — It turns out, “austerity” is the kind of word that gets you fired if you’re a politician in Greece.
Although lawmakers were trying to keep bailout funds flowing to keep the country from going belly up, voters didn’t like it. They said so on Sunday when parliamentary election results cut the majority from two of the most established parties.
Worse yet, the results leave no party in charge, and the volatile nation is even more in flux. The two parties that spearhead the current coalition government earned far short of 150 parliamentary seats. Simeon Ioannidis with AMG International explains, “It is unsure now if a government will be able to form. Everything is uncertain. We will wait for a few days to see how they will agree between them or if we are going for new elections.”
Politicians have until May 17 to come up with a new working alliance or–if they cannot–set a date for another round of elections.
The impasse has set markets roiling. There are questions of whether or not Greece will stay in the European Union. Although the elections will eventually change the response to the crisis, for now, the austerity measures remain in place.
That brings us to what’s happening to those dependent on government payments, like the hospitals. Ioannidis says, “The public hospitals are suffering. Almost 20% of them will be closed, and other private hospitals are suffering also.”
AMG International’s facility is in Thessaloniki, St. Luke’s Hospital. Ioannidis explains, “The problem with St. Luke’s is not that they don’t have any patients, it’s always full. The problem is that the insurance companies don’t have the money to pay their part.” Due to the continued decline of government facilities, the number of people who come to St. Luke’s for help has risen to about 2,000 inpatients and 1,800 outpatients each month.