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President Luis Arce's legal initiative establishes new regulations for private services and the domestic drug market.
Bolivia's Lower House on Thursday passed the "Health Emergency Bill" to strengthen the State's capacity to fight the pandemic and protect the population by avoiding abuses in the provision of health services.
The bill reinforces the Government's authority to regulate the prices of medicines and services in private health centers to curb speculation.
It also prohibits the suspension of health services during the pandemic and prioritizes the hiring of national professionals in the health sector.
Besides direct contracting of services and goods, temporarily taxes' exemptions for drugs, medical equipment, and supplies' imports will be allowed.
Union members in Ivirgarzama showcase their local produce from Bolivia's Chapare region. There's a large assortment of agricultural products to choose from, despite that the region is primarily known for traditional coca growing. pic.twitter.com/Toy222d9Ug
The bill was approved shortly after medical personnel in the Santa Cruz department announced a two-day strike to demand a regional quarantine.
Although the ruling Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) party controls both chambers of the Parliament, the Lower Chamber President Freddy Mamani welcomed that opposition representatives also supported the bill.
Promoted by President Luis Arce, the bill suffered some modifications after the Executive branch, the Medical Association, and the health unions reached several agreements.