Public management of the hospitals of the National Health System will become “the preferred option”


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The Public health is the new battlefront open within the Government coalition by Pedro Sánchez. Despite the discontent staged this Monday by its partners through a press conference at the party’s headquarters, the Minister of Health, Carolina Darias, went ahead with her preliminary draft of Law of Equity, Universality and Cohesion in access to public health and got the approval of the Council of Ministers.

The main objective of the new rule is to establish measures to withdraw and prevent health co-payments from citizens. But the sticking point with Podemos is the regulation 15/1997 promulgated during the Government of José María Aznar to be able to give entry to “new forms of private management” in the National Health System (SNS).

During the press conference after the Council of Ministers, Darias explained that the Government “will clearly repeal regulation 15/1997”, and immediately underlined that “The preferred system will be direct management”, that is to say, public. For this, the minister explained that the General Health Law 14/86 will be modified so that private management can only be accessed “when it is possible justify that need through a memory », he pointed.

With this nuance, the minister tried to bury the hatchet raised early in the morning by Podemos, who asked to exclude the private management of the National Health System. And it is that the agreement with Podemos that allowed Sánchez to reach La Moncloa stipulates the ‘review of legislation’ introduced by Aznar to “promote direct public health management”, in addition to the progressive elimination of copayments introduced in 2012. The agreement does not speak of repeal, but the objective of Podemos is to exclude private health from the National Health System.

«It is a law of the entire coalition government because it complies with the programmatic agreement and it allows progress in direct public management as the preferred option, “insisted the minister, who at all times refused to explain whether the Government is willing to draw a red line to private health in the SNS, as requested by Podemos.

“Battery of Amendments”

Before the start of the press conference after the Council of Ministers and learning about Darias’s maneuver, the state co-spokesperson of Podemos, Pablo Fernández, was very clear, when he asked Darias to rectify “Aznar’s privatizing model” in his proposal.

In a press conference at the party headquarters, Fernández stressed that his formation will present “A battery of amendments” during the parliamentary process of this new law in order to reverse what they consider “the privatization” of the SNS. «At United We Can, we are uncontroversially and unambiguously committed to public health and, therefore, we want to deprivatize this essential service as is already being done in the Valencian Community »Fernández stated.

Currently 11.3 percent of public health spending is allocated to hospital concerts, according to data from the Ministry of Health itself. The Spanish Private Health Alliance (ASE) considers “worrying” that some political groups “disqualify the public-private complementarity model in health matters”, which allows «Reduce waiting lists in hospitalization, diagnostic imaging, respiratory therapies and dialysis, among others ”.

They also clarify that the fact that a health company is responsible for managing a concert «Does not imply that the quality of care is deteriorated, since it is precisely the flexibility of the management that in many cases enables operational efficiency and a tight cost structure that allows maintaining the quality of care for citizens ”.

Although Podemos defends the decision of the Government of Ximo Puig not to renew the concert contracts of the Torrevieja and Alzira hospitals, the ASE recalls that only in the case of the La Ribera hospital (Alzira) this decision has meant an «extra cost of 76 million euros generated only by the latter center after its return to public management. Waiting lists have tripled from 56 to 157 days and more than 7,000 ultrasounds have been diverted to private clinics, according to ASE, which also points out that activity in consultations has dropped 3%.

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