Colombian President Petro’s Healthcare Reform Bill Shelved By Congress

The left-wing president of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, has had difficulty getting new legislation passed by Congress in the Andean nation. A Senate committee rejected his planned health reform.

Proponents of the change said it would increase access to healthcare and weaken insurers’ influence, while opponents said it would invite corruption.

Opponents of the reform said it would promote corruption despite its stated goals of increasing healthcare access and decreasing insurers’ influence. Skeptical of reform initiatives, markets are expected to celebrate this decision, which received nine votes in favor and five against.

Because they have not been providing sufficient care, the Petro government assumed control of Sanitas and Nueva EPS this week, two large insurers with a combined covered population of almost 16 million. Opponents of the measure said it would empower the government to meddle more in people’s healthcare decisions. In light of the legislative setback, Sergio Guzman of Colombia Risk Analysis speculated that the government would seek to increase its involvement via regulators.

Petro expressed his disappointment with the committee’s decision on social networking site X, claiming that it sent the message that significant changes are impossible and that corporate owners are now the “owners of politics.” According to Interior Minister Luis Fernando Velasco, Colombia needs health reform, who also said that the administration respects democratic norms.

Next year’s legislative session starts in July, so the administration has plenty of time to offer updated reforms.

Healthcare facilities often complain about payment delays; the health bill sought to establish a government organization to consolidate payments to alleviate this problem.

While healthcare providers claim a far larger amount, roughly 10 trillion pesos, the government owes them around 2 trillion pesos ($511.7 million), according to the entity in charge of health system payments.