Key risks of health reform revealed by former Ministers of Health

Key risks of health reform revealed by former Ministers of Health

Through a letter, the former ministers and former vice ministers of Health expressed their concern about the nine central points presented in the health reform project proposed by the national Government and which has been approved by 90% of the plenary session of Chamber of Representatives.

According to former officials, the majority of House representatives approved the articles en bloc, without further analysis, which put Colombia’s health system at risk.

They added that while the project 339 of 2023 is being discussed in Congress, the operation of the health system is progressing towards collapse due to the lack of leadership and correct decisions from the National Health Authority.

President Gustavo Petro was surprised by the statement and did not take long to respond on his X account (formerly Twitter), ensuring that patients with serious illnesses continue their medical treatments in the same clinics and hospitals, not in the new in CAPS:

“These same signatories know that you can vote on a block of articles, they themselves have proposed it in congress many times, I am witness to that. It has been a year now that the bill has been discussed, longer more than Law 100 which they defend and we want to change.

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In the dialogue of 6AM Hoy por Hoy, Jaime Arias, former Minister of Health, revealed the main vices that put patient care and human care in the services at risk:

“Those are the typical answers of the president, but there is a letter prepared by a group of technicians, health economists, biologists, scientists and signed by 20 former ministers and vice ministers of health with knowledge of the sector.”

According to former Minister Arias, the reform involves access to health in Priority Health Care Centers (CAPS) proposed by the Government. Let’s remember that these centers define the transition that will be made in the current EPS to Health and Life Managers:

“People go to their care center and they can refer them to a hospital, then it completely breaks down what’s there now through insurance, so access can be difficult.” As stated in the letter, many state agents will assume the existing functions of the EPS, which will lead to users and patients who will have to go many times without being clear about their new responsibilities. and functions.

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Regarding the former ministers’ claim that the reform eliminates the principle of the patient’s freedom to choose his doctor, Arias commented:

“Free choice is when a person decides to join an insured or other, or withdraw, this time what is done is the main care centers that exist in socialist countries like in Cuba. In fact, the EPS now has these centers and they work well, but in the rural areas they are absent or very lacking.

He added that CAPS represents a large multi-year transaction that was not raised in the reform debates: “President Petro does not know the health system and has shown great ignorance throughout this year and a half.”

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“Reform has become a political and ideological debate”

For the former health official, the reform has become a political and ideological debate because of the “antipathy” that President Petro and the Minister of Health, Guillermo Alfonso Jaramillo, have towards private actors in the system:

“This discussion is rushed from the beginning to the end, the fact is that technical arguments are not considered (…) the discussion does not take into account the recommendations of technical methods.”

“Since there are four or five days left, they want it quickly. “I trust that in the Senate the discussion will be calmer, more peaceful and better informed.”

Arias concluded by saying that there is a need for a third stage of the project corresponding to the review of the Constitutional Court, because there is a series of irregularities in substance and form that deserve to be examined in detail.