The month of September marked one year since the implementation of the Real Decreto Ley 16/2012 in Spain, a law which has utterly transformed the Spanish healthcare system, previously characterized as universal, to a system where care is only guaranteed to those who are considered “insured.”
While it is difficult to understand the consequences of this measure, a recent report by the platform Yo Sí Sanidad Universal, “One Year of Exclusion, One year of Disobedience,” seeks to shed light on some of the main effects of this law, including the fear, social exclusion, inequality, and stigma that it is producing. Since its founding, Yo Sí has called for the repeal of this law and the reestablishing of the universal and fundamental right to health protection beyond the criteria of a patient’s country of origin or administrative situation.
An estimated 800,000 people are currently living without health coverage in Spain. Experts from Ramon and Cajal and the School of Hygiene and Tropical Diseases in London have estimated that there will be a rise of 2% in infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS and TB. These are clear signs of the grave consequences that this legislation will continue to have on the lives of those, mostly marginalized immigrant populations, who do not have the services, technologies and medicines they need, as well as on public health in general.
At Salud por Derecho, we support the efforts of organizations like Yo Sí who are working to defend the universality of healthcare in Spain. From our side, we will continue promoting the visibility of these initiatives as well as co-facilitating a experts working group on medicines and public health in Spain which seeks to analyze, develop proposals and engage in political advocacy and monitoring of the impact that the RDL 16/2012 and other measures such as pharmaceutical copayments, the lack of transparency and the current biomedical innovation model are having on access to medicines.
Here, we leave you with a video developed by Yo Sí Sanidad Universal as part of their awareness-raising campaign for health professionals and citizens in general. Take a look and learn more about what you can do by taking a look at their website.
Erika Meyer, Projects Officer