Colombia’s Constitutional Court green-lighted a bill regarding key health reforms declaring that access to healthcare was a “fundamental human right,” Colombian media reported on Thursday.
Colombia’s Constitutional Court declared on Thursday that Senate Law 209 and House Law 267 from 2013 regarding key health reforms are constitutional and now only awaits the president’s approval, according to Semana magazine.
The law outlines the “regulation of the fundamental right to healthcare and other related topics.”
Many of the reforms mentioned in the text of the law echo proposals presidential candidates have made in their campaigns.
The reform law aims to guarantee health as a constitutional and fundamental human right. To achieve this, a single system of healthcare will be established to cover all Colombians within a single benefits plan. The single benefits plan will guarantee the right to healthcare through services, holistic approaches to health, and prevention by prioritizing primary care, according to Congreso Visible — a publication from the political science department of Colombia’s Los Andes University.
The bill decrees:
- Hospitals must provide service regardless of the patient’s Healthcare Provider (EPS) and ailment
- Hospitals must provide healthcare to patients who are not covered by an EPS
- Hospitals do not have to wait for approval for a patient’s treatment from their EPS or Ministry of Health
- Medication prices will be regulated according to international prices and standards
- Doctors have complete autonomy prescribing treatment regardless of cost
- “Tutelas,” a legal tool, will be established as the primary mechanism for a patient to demand right to health
- Creation of regulatory agencies
According to Semana magazine, the text of the law states the need to “create a public, decentralized, and autonomous agency to directly manage the health system and distribute resources.”
This would give the government control over the private EPS that refuses to provide its services to a patient.
Critics have attacked the financial stability of the plan, which will place most of the burden on the Colombian state.
Patients that have pre-existing and terminal conditions will have the right to be treated, and those costs will fall on the state.