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Petro’s Health Reform Vision: Colombia’s Legislative Battle Continues


Health Reform Colombia
The project for the health reform in Colombia continues to be debated – Credit: Twitter CamaraColombia

The second attempt to pass the Health Reform Law in Colombia is still alive after the House of Representatives rejected the motion to shelve the bill, proposed by the opposition. This means that debates will continue in the Colombian legislature, which will need to approve the amendments and find the necessary consensus to pass it after the government’s first attempt failed a few months ago.

It is worth noting that the failure of the first attempt not only cost the job of the then Minister of Health, Carolina Corcho, but also led to the collapse of the governing coalition and the departure of several ministers unrelated to the Historical Pact, the political force that supports the executive. This happened at the end of April. Since then, the new officials, with the new Minister Guillermo Jaramillo at the helm, have revamped the proposal to resume its parliamentary debate.

The second attempt continues

After more than 5 hours of debate, with 97 votes against and 48 in favor, the plenary session of the House of Representatives, which is one of the two chambers of the Colombian legislature, rejected the motion to shelve the reform, as requested by Representatives Andrés Forero and Óscar Darío Pérez from the Democratic Center, and Luis Miguel López from the Conservative Party, both opposition parties to the Petro government.

Thus, the debate on the new healthcare reform project remains alive in the political arena. This is a victory for President Gustavo Petro, who quickly celebrated the fact in a post on his social media.

“The healthcare reform is in good health and continues its process,” the president wrote on social media.

The next step in the parliamentary process will be the presentation of the report, which, if approved, will begin debating the bill’s articles among political representatives in the legislature.

A controversial reform

Among the battery of reforms proposed by the government, few have generated as much controversy as healthcare. Perhaps this is because the paradigm shift proposed by the Executive is total, as the aim of the new law is to transfer the management of the country’s healthcare system to the State.

Under the current system, the main funder of healthcare in the country is the State, but it outsources the management of public funds to the so-called Health Promoting Companies (EPS), acting as intermediaries between public money and hospitals.

These companies, at least the three largest operating in the country, became central to debate about their future in recent weeks when they announced a supposed deficit in their financing that questioned their viability and put their continued operation until the end of this year in jeopardy.

The country remains expectant regarding this second attempt to pass a reform that, regardless of the final result, most of the country and its political representatives see as necessary to improve healthcare, especially outside of the major cities.

The outcome of the parliamentary debates will determine the healthcare model that serves a population of over 50 million citizens.

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