Posted in Barcelona 15- Internacional
In a move that benefits only the economic elite, the right to an universal health care is over in Spain. On September 1st, 2012 the Royal Decree-Law 16/2012 was implemented, leaving thousands of people with no primary health care. Althought the law has considered certain exceptions, ie: medical emergency, pregnancy and assistance to minors, they are not being granted in actual practice.
The RDL is applied in different ways throughtout Spain. The most serious cases of denial of assistance are the regions of Madrid, Valencia or Balearic Islands which are following the legislation scrupulously. This has led to the death of a woman in Valencia and a young man in Mallorca after being rejected several times by the Emergency Room for being considerated “illegal” immigrants. Some cases of denial of the Right to be medically attended during pregnancy for women under 18 have also been denounced.
In other Regions, for instance Catalunya, the RDL is applied in a less restrictive way, although all unregistered residents or those registered in a Catalan home less than 3 months ago are still excluded. If they need a specialist, they must wait to be registered for a whole year or they will be billed for all medical attention. If they are unable to pay, they become State debtors, with all the legal consequences such as non renewal or difficulty to achieve their permits.
However bleak the situation appears, there is a solution to this violation of human rights: professionals and users from everywhere have started campaigns to denounce, disobey and defy these laws. Thousands of professionals are supporting this campaign, called “Right to cure”, which started off by Médicos del Mundo (Doctors of the World) . The platform Yo, Sí Sanidad Universal (I, Yes to Universal Health Care) , in Madrid, has created affinity groups to provide support to those excluded from health care benefits all over the state. In Catalunya, several associations and assemblies are programming a workshop for June 15th and 16th, 2013 to organize and spread these groups throughout Barcelona’s neighbourhoods. Furthermore, some Health Care Centers have gone one step further and launched a disobedience campaign to adress professionals http://desobeeix.wordpress.com/ Several pro-human rights associations and citizen collectives have joined them to start a Platform aimed at collecting and denouncing cases that violate the right to assistance. The name of the platform is Sanitat per tothom (Health Care to everyone).
There is still much work to do, as this RDL is an enormous attack on the fundamental right to health care assistance, but citizens are starting to defend themselves and stand together creating better solutions.
- Defensem la sanitat publica website [CAT]
- Yo, Si Sanidad Universal website [SP]
- Sanitat per tothom website [CAT]