Colombia’s Constitutional Court ruled that President Alvaro Uribe‘s declaration of a “social emergency” was unconstitutional, meaning that the president’s proposed health reforms lack a legal foundation, Colombian media reports.
The court ruled that Colombia was not facing the necessary level of economic, social or ecological threat required to merit the declaration of a “social emergency,” which would allow the president to make decrees without the approval of Congress.
A majority of the court’s magistrates voted to reject the “social emergency,” on the grounds that there is no reason for Colombia’s healthcare system to be considered particularly vulnerable.
The ruling follows the negative recommendations on the reforms submitted to the court in March by Judge Jorge Ivan Palacio. The court discussed each of the points raised in Palacio’s report before coming to their decision.
Palacio explained in March that the biggest fault of Uribe’s emergency declaration is that the crumbling of Colombia’s healthcare system was not an unforeseen event, meaning Uribe should have put proposed reforms through Congress.
In addition, Palacio found that Uribe’s proposed reforms would not solve the underlying problems of the country’s healthcare system.
According to reports, the Colombian Ministries of Finance and Social Protection have devised a “plan B,” for reforming the health system, although they have not announced details of what the plan involves.
Uribe declared a state of “social emergency” in December, in order to pass reforms to the country’s healthcare system which he claimed was on the brink of collapse. The declaration allowed the president to make decrees on healthcare reform system without putting them to a vote in Congress.
The proposed reforms caused heated debate across Colombia, with many of the country’s medical workers arguing that the executive orders should not pass because they violate patients’ rights.