An alternative health reform proposal which would nationalize the system on Wednesday was submitted to Colombia’s Senate secretary by opponents of the initial government reform.
The new reform bill was 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. The bill 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 “Law 100”, a 1993 reform of the health system which established the privatization of the sector.
The proposal reportedly has the support of senators and representatives from the Alternative Democratic Pole, Green and Liberal parties, and is based upon the tenet that healthcare is a fundamental human right, and should be provided by the state, rather than through free market mechanisms.
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.
However, CSR spokesman Mario Hernandez Alvarez declared that the new project is essentially different from the current proposal in that it would be funded entirely by taxpayer dollars that would be funneled into a single public fund.
The original project to reform the health system has been the subject of heavy criticism since it was personally presented to Congress by President Juan Manuel Santos on March 19.
Although Santos’ reform would replace the EPS with a government controlled fund named “Mi Salud”, selected businesses would be encompassed into the new plan. Because of this, several opposers of the reform have expressed doubt over the concrete changes the reform would bring.
Senator Mauricio Ospina of the Alternative Democratic Pole party has been one of the reform’s most outspoken critics due to his concern that it would “strengthen the interests of [the private businesses of] the EPS,” rather than serve the “users” of the system.
Ospina told Colombia Reports that the EPS “will keep on existing in exactly the same way, the only thing that is going to change will be the name.”
It is for this reason that the senator declared his opposition to the reform. “Colombia’s health system has collapsed. This reform would only serve to deepen [the problems] of the current system,” said Ospina. “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.”
Senator Jorge Ballestros, president of the Seventh Commission of the Senate, said 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 forums 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)