2020 ended for the Government with a strong conflict that, to date, extended to the beginning of the new year: the suspension of an increase already granted to prepaid medicines put companies on alert, which warned that attention could be affected of its affiliates.
And beyond recognizing “the cost problem,” President Alberto Fernández justified his decision and targeted those companies, which he accused of “financially using” the affiliates’ money and “only asking for increases.”
“There is a cost problem, prepaid companies have it, but so do social works. It is a problem that not only Argentina has. I was Superintendent of Insurance and, since then, I have been trying to see how prepaid medicine has some kind of control from the State, because they capture public savings and nobody controls anything, and the only thing they ask for is increases. All you see is a pure brokerage system. It takes your quota, accumulates the money system, makes it perform financially, “he said.
The conflict began on the last day of last year when, in the Official Gazette, the Ministry of Health made the 7% increase official as of February 1. However, just hours later, Fernández himself signed a new Resolution suspending this increase, which was “complementary and cumulative” to the 10% increase that was granted as of December 1.
In an extensive interview with radio with youFernández explained how it was that he decided to reverse the increase, which had been justified by the increase in costs.
Claudio Belocopitt, head of the Argentine Union of Private Sector Health Entities (UAS) and owner of Swiss Medical, met with Alberto Fernández. Photo: Federico López Claro
“It was something that I had not signed, that it had come out through the Ministry of Health and that, when I found out, I said ‘this is wrong, we cannot continue charging people with such an increase.’ It was reality that made me change my mind. opinion, “he said. Thus, he revealed a new discrepancy with Ginés González García, head of the health portfolio.
In any case, the president tried to disengage his minister in reversing the measure: “Ginés is right that money is needed. But there is one in the Government who knows what is happening throughout the Government, that is Alberto Fernández. Alberto Fernández knows how we are in fiscal matters and what the inflationary risk is. And that was not taken into account by Ginés. “
Fernández also revealed that on Tuesday he held a meeting with Claudio Belocopitt, president of the Argentine Union of Private Sector Health Entities (UAS) and owner of Swiss Medical, who harshly criticized the government’s measure. According to the President, the businessman understood the explanations he gave him, but he insisted on the problem of costs in the sector.
“We have to make a huge effort this year to lower the fiscal deficit and control inflation and that needs everyone’s effort. So what I raised is: ‘Are you aware that between December and February you will have an increase of 17%? And that people have to pay for? I am not going to allow that and that is why I stopped him, there is no other explanation. And I told him: “If we have to order the health system, let’s really order it,” he said.
In addition to avoiding talking about a possible nationalization of the private health system, Fernández warned about the financing of the system and again criticized the companies’ handling of the funds.
“When you look at prepaid medicine, you see that there is an intermediary in the health system that collects fees, accumulates resources, manages them financiallyIt invests them financially, and from there it pays the lenders, who are always dissatisfied with what they receive, “he said.
In addition, the president pointed to a “structural problem” in the health system and asked to “review it.” “It is very deep and did not start in the previous government. It is a problem of how the health system was formed,” he explained.
As for the push and pull with prepaid, he concluded: “What we have to understand is that we are in a particular situation. One of the things that is most difficult for me as president is that I am governing a country in a pandemic and they answer me as if he were ruling a normal country. And it is a country in a pandemic, a world in a pandemic. “