One of the first measures promoted by the first Government of Pedro Sanchez was to reverse the health reform of the PP Y return access to the health system to immigrants, back in 2018. However, three years later, there are still people in an irregular administrative situation in Spain who either are not treated, or if they have a serious emergency, they are given attention but are then required to receive an invoice for the expense incurred. According to the complaints made to Doctors of the World, only during the pandemic, it has been produced 1,500 cases of violation of the right, including 44 pregnant women, 90 minors, 78 asylum seekers, 85 check-ins in the emergency room, 46 reunited people and 674 people who have not been able to have their right recognized as a result of the existing administrative barriers and ambiguity in the legislation. And many of these people have illnesses as serious as Cancer, cardiovascular ailments, hypertension, HIV and mental health problems.
These exclusions occur because the decree that recovered the universal healing “It was a step forward because it recognized the right to health under equal conditions” but in practice “this reality has not been reached” because the legislation contains difficult to meet requirements for migrants in an irregular administrative situation, as explained Eva Aguilera, Coordinator of political incidence of Doctors of the World, who has participated this Monday in the presentation of the campaign ‘Health without buts’, which seeks to raise awareness of this problem in society.
The main impediment is that in order to access healthcare, it is necessary to demonstrate that 90 days in Spain and for this it is not enough to show a plane ticket, but most of the autonomies require them to be registered and for that a stable home despite the fact that many immigrants, in their first days in the country, wander from one place to another, like many of the groups that work in agricultural campaigns. This requirement was introduced to avoid health tourism, one of the excuses used by the PP to withdraw the health card from immigrants, which affected, only in 2012, when the regulation came into force, some 800,000 people and caused a 15% increase in mortality in this group.
In addition, the current system leaves vulnerable groups of people without coverage, such as those who arrive in the process of family reunification and it does not protect minors and pregnant women, as the PP legislation did.
Against this background, the fifty civil and health organizations that make up the network REDER have gathered this Monday at the gates of the Ministry of Health to ask the Government to process “once and for all” and urgently a draft law that ends with exclusions, which in many cases also mean staying outside the vaccination campaign. Doctors of the World has documented more than a hundred people who have had to wait weeks or are still without an appointment for the covid prick and these figures, as well as those excluded from the health system, may be just the tip of the iceberg since not all those affected go to the NGOs.
The most paradoxical thing about the situation is that the government has recognized, on several occasions, the need to find a solution and, for this, in October of last year began the public consultation of a law which, as reported to the EU, does not plan to bring the Council of Ministers until the end of the year, which may delay its final approval for at least another year.