LatinNews Daily - 14 February 2023

In brief: Colombia’s Petro presents health reform bill

* Colombia’s President Gustavo Petro has unveiled his government’s health reform bill, a flagship piece of legislation which he says will improve care, raise salaries in the healthcare sector, and expand access to treatment. Critics of the reform argue that the Colombian healthcare system, in which workers and their employers pay into a private health insurance policy (EPS) and the government pays the medical bills of the poorest, is one of the better systems in Latin America and that Petro’s reform is based on politics, not necessity. According to a presidential statement, the bill would “transform the system to cover the whole national territory, without exceptions, and include all citizens without the need to have an affiliation card”. Among other things, the reform bill would close down struggling EPS, while those in a strong financial position would absorb patients from the closed-down healthcare providers. At the same time, the government would establish primary care centres around the country, which would operate under a public-private model and will each serve an average of 25,000 citizens.

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