Tuesday, October 29, 2013

On the March Against Health Reform

Some 1,500 doctors, nurses and medical students marched today against a proposed reform of Colombia's health system.

The contradiction is that nearly everybody agrees that Colombia's public health system is failing and that it does need reform. The question is how to reform it.

According to many observers, parts of the public health system are near bankruptcy. Patients complain that they are sometimes denied service. Some medicines are exorbitantly expensive. The Health Provider Businesses, known as EPSs, have received particular criticism.

The anti-riot police didn't have much to do.
In response, a government-backed bill now in Parliament would remake the whole system, creating a single fund, called Salud-Mia, to administer the whole system; set up a health plan named Mi-Plan to provide services and create 'Health Services Managers,' to accompany patients during their treatments.

To me, all this sounds like Big Government, for better or for worse. So, it's ironic that many of today's protesters denounced what they termed 'turning health care into a business.'

I can't pretend to understand the pluses and minuses of this reform, except to say that reform of some kind is needed. I will say, however, that, with all of its faults, Colombia's public health system is far ahead of the of the United States.

A poster in a public park denounces the proposed reform.
Happy protesters on Ave. Septima. 

Anti-health reform propaganda also fights the sun. 

The Colombian Society for Anesthesiology and Reanimation (SCARE) bought a full-page ad in El Tiempo critiquing the reform law. 

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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