April 14, 2021

Universal health does not just reach all the undocumented | Society

Universal health does not just reach all the undocumented | Society

Foreigners who are in an irregular situation in Spain are still waiting for their universal access to healthcare to be completed. The Congress validated the decree law in September approved in July by the Government to guarantee this health care, but now it is processing as law in Congress. And, in the meantime, organizations such as Médicos del Mundo, Yo Sí Universal Healthcare and Médicos sin Fronteras, among others, report complaints from people in an irregular situation who are not treated.

One of them is Mayllén, a 29-year-old Venezuelan doctor who arrived in Spain at the beginning of September and asked for political asylum. She is pregnant and needed medical control. Even with the restrictions imposed by the PP to the attention to the foreigners in irregular situation in 2012, they should have taken care of it due to their state, as it must be done with the urgencies and the minors. But they delegated assistance when he went to the outpatient clinic in the Retiro district, in Madrid. "For 90 days they take me for a tourist [cuya atención debe estar cubierta si no son comunitarios por un seguro de viaje], when I'm asking for asylum and I can not go back to my country, "he says. In the end, an advisor from the NGO accompanied her and got you will be assigned a passer-by code to be attended.

Reder, the network of denunciation and resistance to the decree that denied universal health in 2012, has compiled more than 100 recent cases throughout Spain. Pablo Iglesias, of the NGO Médicos del Mundo, which participates in this network, explains that this situation is exceptional and believes that the problem may be in the formulation of the decree law of September. The text establishes in article 3 that "the communities will set the procedure for the application and issuance of the certification document that accredits foreigners to receive the benefit." And that "if they are in a situation of temporary stay, the issuance of a favorable prior report by the competent social services in the autonomous communities is mandatory".

That is to say, it is the autonomies that establish how they are accredited. If they have been in the country for less than 90 days, they can be considered temporary residents or bystanders, but this does not mean that they do not have access to healthcare, but that they must receive a report from the social services.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Health says that what is intended by the law that will replace the decree is to avoid any loophole that allows leaving a foreigner without health care. While it is approved, Maria Luisa Carcedo's ministry has issued recommendations to the communities on how to proceed. It is also in talks with NGOs to receive their suggestions for the approval of the law and the rules that specify it – the last meeting was yesterday – but there are no precise instructions on how the Health and Human Services ministries should act. Social Affairs, which leaves holes through which managers can try to delay the arrival of universal health, by ideology, confusion or savings.

"Some communities are making a restrictive interpretation of the decree law," says Celia Zafra, of Médicos del Mundo, who adds that the government should standardize the care criterion. According to sources of the NGO, in August 2018, the Community of Madrid gave the centers an instruction indicating that immigrants in an irregular situation who could benefit from the provisions of the decree-law, that is, universal access to health, were cared for if they have exceeded 90 days of residence. The regional government denies it.

"Terrible" pain

Angela has experienced this mismatch. This Salvadoran woman – who does not give her real name because she does not want the testimony to affect the asylum procedure she started two weeks after arriving in Spain – went in June with her three-year-old daughter to a health center in Getafe (Madrid) , where is registered. She had a "terrible" back pain and her daughter, who did have a consultation, with an infection. "They did not take care of me, because I had three days to go until the 90th deadline, so I went to the hospital," she says. Now, the University Hospital of Getafe claims 175 euros for health costs. He can not face it. Dont have work.

The Health Ministry of Madrid ensures that it expects a ministerial order and confirms that there have been some specific cases of delegation of assistance. Until the question is clarified, "we are bound to see violations in universal health until it is realized," says Iglesias. Only since 2014, collected in the Reder report, almost 5,000 people have been excluded from the health system. And 194 have been pregnant women; 322 minors; 45 asylum seekers and around 500 emergencies.

Susana, also a fictitious name, happened something similar to what happened to Angela. She is Venezuelan and she is 52 years old. He arrived in Spain on June 21 and went to a health center in Hortaleza, Madrid, where he is registered, to register in the health system, account by phone. She is asthmatic and wants to be alert to possible attacks, but they told her that they would not take care of her. It is unknown how many people are in this situation because they do not have documents. The Ministry of the Interior recognizes that 48,669 people have entered irregularly between January 1 and October 15. They are added to the 28,572 that arrived in 2017.

"The census has always been an insurmountable barrier for many," says Iglesias, who proposes that, in addition, serve other accreditations, such as the schooling of children and even affidavits from neighbors. "Meanwhile, these people will be in a legal vacuum", ditch.


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