An alternative health reform proposal has been submitted to the Senate by opponents of the initial government reform.
The original project to reform the health system has been subjected to heavy criticism since it was personally presented to Congress by President Santos on March 19.
The new reform has been created by the Commission for Monitoring the 2008 T-760 Sentence and the Structural Reform of Health and Social Services (CSR), and the National Alliance for a New Health Model (ANSA) along with representatives from different political parties, medical, patient and civil organizations and was submitted to the Secretary of the Senate on Wednesday.
The new proposal intends to carry out a base restructuring of the system and includes a request to repeal the controversial ‘ley 100’, a 1993 reform of the health system which established the essential privatization of the sector and put in place several of the aspects still being reformed today.
The proposal reportedly has the support of senators and representatives from the Democratic Pole, Green and Liberal parties and is based upon the tenet that healthcare is a fundamental right, and should be a public function instead of a business.
Like the current government proposal, it aims to do away with the privately run intermediary health businesses, EPS, through which Colombians currently access public health services, replacing it with a single government controlled fund.
However, CSR spokesman Mario Hernandez Alvarez declared that the new project is essentially different from the current proposal, detailing the creation of a new strategy which would mean that people wouldn’t have to go through authoritative procedures in order to access the health system.
Hernandez said the strategy, named the Primary Integral Attention for the Health system (APIS) would operate “near to the people, [would have] the capacity to resolve the principal health problems of the communities and to organize the networks of services that are required.
Much of the first reform’s controversy was caused by the economic consequences the administrative restructuring would have on the sector, with concerns over the future role of the EPS.
Although the basis of the reform will see the EPS officially replaced with a government controlled fund named “Mi Salud”, selected businesses are to be encompassed into the new plan and several opposers of the reform have expressed doubt over the changes that the reform would actually mean for the EPS.
Senator Mauricio Ospina of the Polo Democratico Alternativo party has been one of the reform’s most outspoken critics, due to his concerns that it will “strengthen the interests of the EPS” rather than paying attention to the “users” of the system.
In an interview with Colombia Reports, Ospina claimed that the EPS “will keep on existing in exactly the same way, the only thing that is going to change will be the name.”
The senator declared his complete opposition to the reform “Colombia’s health system has collapsed. This reform will only serve to deepen [the problems] of the current system.”
“The only thing we can do is try to alert the Colombian people, so that they don’t get false hopes over this reform which will definitely fail in a very short amount of time” he said.
Senator Jorge Ballestros, president of the Seventh Commission of the Senate, also spoke to Colombia Reports, saying that there is “relative support” for the reform in Congress, although “they are not wholly convinced” by aspects of the proposal. The Seventh Commission is set to host a series of audiences between the proposers of the original government reform and members of civil society, running up to the first Congress debate of the reform, scheduled for 20 June.
Ballesteros declared that with the reform the government is attempting to bring an end to the domination of the sector by the EPS and would eliminate the “barriers within the sector”, adding that the reform will require “a long and amplified discussion to revise the advances proposed by the government.”
- Radican proyecto alternativo para reforma a la salud (Caracol)
- Interview with Mauricio Ospina
- Interview with Jorge Ballesteros
- Críticos de la Reforma a la Salud radicaron proyecto paralelo (El Pais)
- Reforma a la Salud debe ser más incluyente y mejorar prestación del servicio: Fedemunicipios (Santa Fe)
- Le salió competencia a la reforma de salud de Santos (Dinero
- ‘Quieren entorpecer reforma a la salud’ (elnuevosiglo)
- Ley ordinaria en salud no se aprobaría este semestre (RCN radio)
- LESSONS FROM COLOMBIA: THE FAILURE OF PRIVATE INSURANCE TO ASSURE HEALTH FOR ALL (The Social Medecine Portal)