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WFTU Denounce a Spanish State’s Plan to Privatise the Health Care System

The World Federation of Trade Unions Coordinating Committee from the stateless nations of the Basque Country, Països Catalans, Canary Islands and Galicia, denounces the Spanish government’s plan to privatise the health system through the employers’ mutual insurance companies.

Last Friday, LAB trade union denounced the existence of a draft agreement to delegate the management of common illnesses to the employers’ mutual insurance companies. The draft document has been agreed between the Spanish Social Security System and the employers’ mutual insurance association AMAT and has been passed on to each Autonomous Community to be implemented by the corresponding health department and the employers’ mutual insurance companies.

According to this agreement, in the case of workers in companies that have contracted services with employers’ mutual insurance companies, when they are on sick leave, common contingencies and related tests, treatments, interventions or rehabilitations would be at the disposal of these mutual insurance companies. The consequence of this would be, among other things, that the mutual insurance companies would apply productive and economic criteria and, on this basis, discharge workers as soon as possible, leaving workers’ health on a secondary plane, at the expense, moreover, of social security. The measure would affect 80-90% of the active population. The agreement would give it the power to audit the public service doctor and demand the necessary technical reports within a short period of five days, and it would have to provide extensive explanations to the mutual insurance company.

Behind this document, which is being sold to us as a collaboration agreement, there is a clear attempt to step on the accelerator of the privatisation of public healthcare. Since 1995, more and more power has been given to the mutual insurance companies in the Spanish State and on this occasion, the intention is that the Employers’ Mutual Insurance Company takes over the health service of the active population, emptying the Public Health System. Thus, following neoliberal doctrine, the approach is that medical care for active workers is provided by mutual insurance companies in order to get them back to work as soon as possible; and for those who are not considered productive, the public health system is emptied of resources.

They want to sell us the idea that all this is being done to reduce waiting lists, but from the Peoples’ Coordinating Committee of the World Federation of Trade Unions in the Spanish State, we clearly understand that the way to achieve this is not to privatise public health care, but on the opposite, investing in public services. In this sense, we propose a publicisation of the employers’ mutual insurance companies in order to complete a solid public health system. There are legal tools to do this, but unfortunately what does not exist is the political commitment.

From the Coordinating Committee, we call on the autonomous governments of our respective territories to reject this privatisation attempt categorically and to make a commitment that the care of the common illnesses of these workers will not be entrusted to the employers’ mutual insurance companies. At the same time, we demand that the central government of the state to back down, and we demand that if it really wants to make policies at the service of the popular majorities, it should be brave and not follow the same path taken with the Labour Reform, the Pension Reform and the Gag Law. There are conditions to be able to make other policies, but what unfortunately does not exist is a real determination in the government to deepen the political and social changes that we need as peoples and as a working class.

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