Thursday, December 01, 2022

It’s time to review free care for foreigners in Argentine hospitals

Alexander Benitez
Alexander Benitez

The death of Alejandro Benítez, an Argentine citizen in Bolivia due to lack of medical attention, is an issue that should have been discussed at least 20 years ago.

When one insisted on the possibility of ending the lavishness with which Argentines occupy hospital beds with non-resident foreigners or give overly expensive drugs that they take back to their countries, Accusations of xenophobia and conservatism rained down. And then, those who framed those objections, who are in the majority, backed down.

The governor of Jujuy announced that the public health system in his province cares for 2,200 Bolivians per year and that he spends about 300 million pesos on this care. Therefore, it complained of Bolivia’s lack of compliance with the reciprocal agreement.

The fact that a reciprocal agreement is already in place represents a losing situation for Argentina. The governor himself admitted that “the relationship is that of an Argentine with 100 Bolivians being treated.” So why do we want reciprocity? Let us imagine that Argentina, Bolivia or Paraguay tried to sign a reciprocal agreement on work visas with the United States, Germany, Great Britain or Norway.

It has long been known that health trips come to hospitals in Argentina, especially from Paraguay, which are made up of passengers who travel by bus and who return to their country with passengers already treated and Sometimes full of drugs are taken for free. Free for them, of course, because we Argentines pay for them with our taxes.

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Solidarity is a great quality, but no one gives strangers what is desperately needed for their children. Even St. Thomas Aquinas referred to an edict of charity when he wrote: “Making profit is an act of charity towards others; it is therefore imperative that we be more beneficial with those closest to us.” And as an example of those closest to him, he names fellow citizens. Make this appointment for those who defend this odd position and invoke a Christian virtue.

Argentina’s health system is leaking from all sides, public and private. As always, the government – ​​called the state – is the driving force behind this potential shipwreck, due to its apathy and corruption in the public sector and its rules regarding the private sector.

Solutions can be many. In Peru, to be treated in a hospital, the citizen must be connected to one of the system’s institutions, of which there are several; Some public, others private, others mixed. Everyone has to pay to join, except those who lack the resources who, after demonstrating their need, get the benefit of free joining.

Nor is there a question of charging foreigners who come here, Because public system beds are intended for Argentines or residents who lack private coverage, Therefore, even if the foreigners paid, they would be occupying the beds reserved for the residents of our country. Cases of emergencies occurring in the field are of course left to those who receive care anywhere in the world, but the care is paid for later.

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For these reasons, Argentina has no reason to stop asking for a pre-contract of international health insurance as a condition of entry, as do most countries that care for their people, including Chile. , which is our nearest neighbor and with whom we share a boundary of more kilometer.

On the other hand, the Immigration Computer Center should be linked to hospital systems across the country. It is much simpler today, with tools like blockchain. It was there before, but now it is unforgivable. In such a situation, the visitor should be asked for an oath statement that stipulates that they do not enter the country to access Argentina’s free health system and, if a willful violation is proven, Proceed to cancel the eviction and entry permit. Because of the number of years.

We have waited too long and passed many governments of different colours, in the midst of our poverty, without daring to touch the ruin of what we have, And it makes us South America’s free medical insurance with the money we lack in Argentina and the worst part is that we lack health care.

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