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Colombian Congress shelves controversial health care reform bill

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Colombian Congress on Wednesday shelved the controversial health reform bill, one of the demonstrators’ main demands in the protests that have been shaking the country for 22 days.

The initiative, which the right-wing Cambio Radical party had presented, was shelved by a large majority in the Senate and House of Representatives committees in charge of its study.

Colombian Congress shelves controversial health care reform bill
Colombian Congress shelves controversial health care reform bill. (Photo internet reproduction)

“In Congress, we have just sunk the health reform. A victory for citizen mobilization, organization, and the persistent demands of the sector. The next step is to build a reform that includes the whole sector and does not give more power to the EPS (Health Provider Companies)”, wrote in social networks the representative to the Chamber Jorge Gómez Gallego, from the left-wing party Dignidad.

The decision of the Congress was received with applause by demonstrators gathered in the Plaza de Bolivar, in downtown Bogotá, as they consider that this is an achievement of the protests since the health reform implied a greater degree of privatization in that system.

On May 2, Colombian President Iván Duque announced that he was withdrawing the tax reform bill, which triggered the citizens who began to take to the streets on April 28 to express their dissatisfaction with the Government’s social and economic policies.

After learning that its health reform bill -which was supported by the Government- did not advance, the Cambio Radical party stated in a communiqué that it regrets the decision because the initiative “guaranteed the right to health and the sustainability of the system and incorporated solutions to problems that became evident with the covid-19 crisis”.

He highlighted that it would allow some hospitals to specialize in orphan diseases and cancer and included a program for the financial reorganization of the sector.

“We hope that in the next health project there will be a high-level debate, with arguments and leaving aside the fake news”, said the party, which invited the congressmen to “face the debates that Colombia needs urgently and not to be carried away by information and speculations that lack depth and seriousness”.

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