The terrible human cost of Greece’s bailouts

The Lancet has published an analysis of changes in life expectancy in Greece during the recent crisis. […]

Greek mortality has worsened significantly since the beginning of the century. In 2000, the death rate per 100,000 people was 944.5. By 2016, it had risen to 1174.9, with most of the increase taking place from 2010 onwards.

Greece’s mortality increase stands in stark contrast to global death rates, which fell during this time. Even in Western Europe, where death rates rose slightly overall, no other country experienced a deterioration on this scale. […] Among the countries included in the study, Greece’s case appears to be exceptional. […]

The report says that as part of the bailout conditions, Greece’s total healthcare expenditure (public and private) fell from 9.8% of GDP in 2008 to 8.1% in 2014. An article published by the Lancet concurrently with the paper notes that, under pressure from the Troika, the Greek government cut public healthcare expenditure to 6% of GDP.

But during this time, Greek GDP shrank by more than a quarter. So total healthcare expenditure effectively shrank by 30%.

Let’s stop playing ‘blame the Greeks’. Babies, adolescents and young adults did not cause Greece’s debt disaster. But they are paying for it – with their lives.”

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