By Tania Suárez, in Madrid | One more twist in the reform plans introduced by the Spanish government: time is up for the public health system… again.
The vice-president Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría said in March that
“the matter of the [sanitary] co-payment is not on the table of the Cabinet; it is as simple and crystal clear as that.”
In Spain, the pensioners did not have to pay for their medicines as the cost was fully covered by the government. This was a unique case in the whole European Union. However, Ana Mato, minister of Health, Social Policy and Equality, has now announced the co-payment option should be considered, in agreement with the different health departments of the Spanish regions. The result of this reform will be that pensioners will pay 10% of the medicines’ price, whereas active workers will pay between 50% to 60% versus the previous 40%.
The Spanish government expects to save up to €3.7 billion with this changes, of the €7 billion cost-cutting plan to guarantee the national health system’s sustainability. The Cabinet will approve the measure next Friday by means of royal decree.
Nonetheless, there are some voices in the public opinion that have taken positions against the co-payment. At FACUA (the Spanish consumers’ association), they say this measure is actually
“preparing the ground for the establishment of two different sanitary systems: one for the rich people and one for the poor.” And they add, “this is a real attack against the access-for-all to the public sanitary system.”