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News > Latin America

Argentina's Macri Moves Forward to Privatize Healthcare

  • Argentina's President Mauricio Macri speaks during an interview for the Reuters Latin American Investment Summit at the Casa Rosada Presidential Palace in Buenos Aires, Argentina August 8, 2017.

    Argentina's President Mauricio Macri speaks during an interview for the Reuters Latin American Investment Summit at the Casa Rosada Presidential Palace in Buenos Aires, Argentina August 8, 2017. | Photo: Reuters

Published 18 November 2017
Opinion

Mauricio Macri has proposed ‘a privatization and outsourcing of hospital services’ in Argentina, according to experts.

After almost two years in office, Argentine President Mauricio Macri, proposed the Universal Health Coverage (CUS), because he believes that the previous health system lacked organization and that it is "fractured and inequitable."

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In a meeting of a council on healthcare reform, together with the Health Services Superintendence, the General Confederation of Labor (CGT), and the Ministry of Health of the Nation, Macri said that "the CUS seeks that all individuals, especially the most vulnerable, have access to the quality services they need throughout their life cycle.”

With these changes in health care, the Argentine president seeks to end the free and universal public health structure, prepared by Ramón Carrillo and launched by Juan Domingo Perón in 1946.

This healthcare model was adopted along with other social reforms to guarantee the social security of all Argentine citizens.Under the Peronist health model, priority was given to free care for people with low economic resources.

Although Mauricio Macri said that the public sector will not be affected and that citizens will not lose access to public healthcare, Macri did not acknowledge that the country already has an adequate universal healthcare system in place.

Macri’s proposed scheme would restrict free access to hospitals by restricting benefits and limiting conditions covered by public services thus requiring patients to pay amounts that exceed benefit guarantees.

A healthcare expert, Jorge Rachid, said that any person can go to public hospitals in the current system, but with the CUS medicine costs would greatly increase and this burden would be absorbed by patients.

The expert said that "this leads to a privatization and outsourcing of hospital services," adding that "the CUS will affect not only the workers' money but the budget money that we are voting for 2018 and that it will now be diverted to private providers."

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The Universal Health Coverage (CUS) was launched this year, following an order made by Mauricio Macri through a Decree of Need and Urgency (DNU), in the province of Mendoza. With this coverage, citizens will no longer be able to access a public hospital without being previously registered, which could be a step toward the total privatization of the healthcare system in Argentina.

This system’s flaws are reflected in countries such as Colombia, where public health was completely privatized and led to the bankruptcy of dozens of hospitals, which has generated thousands of avoidable deaths in disadvantaged communities.

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