The Council of Ministers approved this Monday the draft Law on Health Equity, Universality and Cohesion. The text, still subject to a long process until it is approved, establishes direct management as a “preferred formula” for the operation of health services, shields the system against new co-payments and advances in the elimination of those decreed by the PP in 2012.
The law repeals, as explained by the Minister of Health in the press conference after the Council of Ministers, the norm approved by the Executive of José María Aznar in 1997 that promoted the privatization in health but continues to contemplate, always under justification “from the health and economic point of view “, the possibility of outsourcing services. “Other management formulas will have to be argued,” said Carolina Darias.
The partners of the PSOE in the Government consider that this step is insufficient. According to sources from United We Can, the text “does not substantively modify Law 15/97 and keeps the door open to the privatization of Healthcare” since it includes that “the provision of health and social health services may be carried out, in addition of with own means, by means of agreements, conventions or contracts with persons or private entities, in the terms foreseen in the present law “. The difference is that now you will have to justify yourself. A few minutes before the press conference, Unidos Podemos announced that it will request the “revision” of the text in the amendment period because it “follows the path” of privatization.
“It is a law of the entire Government that responds to the coalition pact and the rest of the ministries have contributed to the text that we have,” Darias replied when asked about the discrepancies. The minister insisted that it is a “very important norm because it improves and expands the rights of citizens.”
PSOE and United We Can agreed in their government pact the “revision of law 15/1997”. It is a unique article and establishes that “within the scope of the National Health System, guaranteeing and preserving in any case its condition of public service, the management and administration of health centers, services and health care establishments. sanitary or socio-sanitary may be carried out directly or indirectly through the constitution of any entities of a public nature or ownership admitted by law “.
The text approved by the Council of Ministers traces the following article of that law: “the provision and management of health and social health services may be carried out, in addition to their own means, through agreements, agreements or contracts with people or public entities or private, in the terms provided in the General Health Law “, although it introduces in the General Health Law the prevalence of direct management over privatization.
Shield against new copays
The new regulation also modifies Law 16/2012, which introduced co-payments and also divided the Common Services Portfolio into three, establishing which services were co-paid and which were not: “Now we unify them so that new health co-payments cannot be introduced. With this Law , it is guaranteed that the common Portfolio is recovered in a homogeneous way throughout the national territory, “explained Darias.
The draft also advances in the progressive elimination of copayments, included in the Government pact. Since January 1, six million people have been exempted from paying for medicines: pensioners with low incomes, people with a dependent child benefit and minors with disabilities (over 33%). These groups, since the entry into force of this law, will not have to bear the cost of orthopedic prostheses either. The rule, however, is still subject to a very long process until it is approved.
Another of the most anticipated issues of the new norm was the recovery of universal health, decreed in 2018 but which in practice registers gaps in the case of pregnant women and reunited family members. On this point, Darias has assured that the law “guarantees that the recognized benefit is done in a homogeneous way” in all communities. Now, according to the minister, it is not like that. The text also provides health coverage to residents abroad “during their trips to Spanish territory” and also to their families.