March 15, 2019 / 11:31 AM / 5 days ago

UPDATE 1-Healthcare reform collapse "troublesome" for Finland's finances -central bank

(Updates with Rehn’s quote, background)

HELSINKI, March 15 (Reuters) - Finland’s social and healthcare systems still need reforming to ensure the sustainability of its public finances, Bank of Finland governor Olli Rehn said on Friday, a week after the failure of its health reform plan led the government to quit.

The coalition government resigned a month ahead of a mid-April general election, saying it could not deliver on the healthcare reform package, its key policy and widely seen as crucial to long-term fiscal security.

“The collapse of the structural reform of the social and healthcare (systems) is of course very troublesome from the point of view of fiscal sustainability,” Rehn told a news conference in Helsinki.

“The problem itself, (the need for) better and democratic healthcare as well as consolidation of public finances, has not disappeared.”

Healthcare systems across the developed world have come under increasing stress in recent years as treatment costs soar and people live longer, meaning fewer workers are supporting more pensioners. In Finland that problem has been compounded by a plunging birth rate.

With the collapsed reform, the government had aimed to dramatically slow the increase in healthcare spending over the next decade. It aimed to reduce the spending to 18.3 billion euros in 2029 against an estimated 21.3 billion euros if no changes are made.

Several Finnish governments have tried to push through healthcare reform in different forms over the past 12 years but all have failed. (Reporting by Anne Kauranen; Editing by Catherine Evans)

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