What changes would the National Government’s proposal to reform the Health Care System in Colombia bring about?

It is important to understand that in the country today, the national government has proposed various reforms to the tax, health, justice and other systems, with the intention that these proposals seek to improve or change powers that the systems themselves have.

Bill 010 of 2020 proposes to modify the E.P.S. (Health Promoting Entities), which would eliminate benefits that the Ministry of Health has granted to a large number of Colombians and has been improving despite the fact that the services currently provided to the general population are not the most complete in comparison with other countries in the region. Colombia is characterized by regulations such as Law 100 of 1993, which protects rights such as health, pensions and occupational risk insurance through the A.R.L., which aim to ensure that the majority of Colombians have access to health and social security. These seek to ensure that the majority of people whether they contribute or not to the health system, have guaranteed access and the right enjoy the health services, although in practice it is often necessary to opt for guardianship actions, which, due to its connection with the fundamental right to life, seeks comprehensive treatment for people who often do not have the economic capacity to pay for  a Complementary Health Plan.

With the current reform, some benefits would be discarded, if it passes through the different stages in the Congress of the Republic, among other steps that must be completed so it would be formalized, these would currently be the benefits that would be eliminated:

  • Increase portability so that it is nationwide and not only in the municipality of residence of the P.S. or SISBEN (System for Identifying Potential Beneficiaries of Social Programs) user.
  • Expand the hospital network with more resources, better capacity and much more technology
  • Generate more financial resources by withdrawing intermediation through a direct transfer to the E.P.S. or health subsidized regime
  • Allow users to choose the insurer of their choice
  • Have the    same    benefits    for   those    who    pay    health    insurance contributions as for those in the health subsidized scheme

Thus, the bill seeking to reform health care in Colombia would be unconstitutional, as it would contravene the right to health according to the Statutory Law on Health 1751 of 2015.

Finally, access to health care, when it is handed over entirely to private individuals in its administration, becomes a business, where only those with economic capacity can access its benefits, thus excluding many ordinary Colombians who have little access to health care because the state largely subsidizes the provision of the service.

For this reason, it is important that Colombians are informed about the different bills or reforms presented by the government, so that they will not affect in the future the new generations who have come out to protest against the different disagreements that are faced with the way in which the economic, fiscal and pandemic crisis has been handled out in our country.

Article written by Camilo Garavito (Lawyer at López & James, specialist in Procedural, Constitutional and Consumer Law).

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