This was the debate on health reform in the Chamber; plenary session was suspended and scheduled for June 6

The health reform of the Government of President Gustavo Petro will face its second debate in the House of Representatives. After its approval in the Seventh Commission, the initiative goes to plenary without convincing a good part of the Colombian population and with a broken coalition that could not provide the necessary support for the process to continue.

The Colombian Association of Comprehensive Medicine Companies (Acemi) recently reiterated its concern about the articles, since the approval of the project could mean the loss of about 100,000 formal jobs in the sector.

The EPS union, together with Andi and Asocajas, jointly expressed their objections and requested the withdrawal of the paper for the second debate: “We consider that what is pertinent is a comprehensive and exhaustive analysis of the text, with due rigor and with the active participation of all the actors.”

On the other hand, opposition congressmen collected 100,000 signatures from users of the health system to withdraw the reform to said sector. “They also ask to convene a large national table and present a responsible reform that improves and guarantees the provision of the service,” informed the representatives Carolina Arbeláez and Andrés Forero.

In the midst of this controversy, the project will face its second debate and the Government begins to move its chips to achieve the necessary majorities in the corporation.

Follow the minute by minute of the discussion:

2:39 p. m.: The plenary session was adjourned and it was called for next Tuesday, June 6 at around 8:00 a.m.

2:00 p. m.: the president of the Chamber, David Racero, defended the work of Olga Lucía Velásquez during today’s session.

“The process that has been carried out so far is completely regular, within the framework of the fifth Law, within the framework of the procedure,” Racero said, adding that Velásquez has asked congressmen if they have already voted.

“Being present implies voting. Sometimes, due to the noise and the process itself, they are a little distracted. The president is constantly asking. It’s normal, it’s been like that before,” Racero concluded.

1:40 p. m.: The opposition warns that during the vote on the impediments of different representatives there would have been a new defect in the process of the health reform.

Due to lack of a quorum, they suspended a vote just before the statutory 30 minutes were up and they put the same issue back for consideration by the plenary,” said the representative to the Chamber of the Democratic Center, Andrés Forero.

And he pointed out that it is probable that the recording of the plenary session of the House of Representatives will be reviewed by the Constitutional Court to the extent that an irregular suspension would have been given.

“When one reviews the recording, Mrs. President, more or less 30 or 40 seconds before the regulatory time was to end for the vote to be lifted, you say ‘suspend’. He immediately regrets it, because he saw that some representatives were entering who apparently could give him enough votes to have a quorum in that vote,” Forero told representative Olga Lucía Velásquez, who chaired the plenary.

1:20 p. m.: the representative to the Green Alliance Chamber, Cristian Avendaño, gave details to WEEK about the disagreements they had with representative Martha Alfonso. She assured that, indeed, there are differences in the community. “This is a game that does not swallow whole, that analyzes everything. There are different critical perspectives on the reform,” Avendaño said.

“Since there is so much uncertainty around how to make the transition to the new health system, confusion and Representative Martha suddenly misinterpreted the considerations we were having with representatives Juvinao and Miranda,” added.

He argued that although Congresswoman Alfonso has done “hard work” defending and building the reform, they still have doubts about the operation of the new health model.

“She was confused in the interpretation of what I was saying about the institutional capacity of the Adres. It is not about defending the EPS (…), this is much deeper. The problem here is who really has the institutional capacity to optimize the payment of health resources. And she told us that this was like defending the EPS ”, she concluded.

1:00 p. m.: there was a hard clash between the rapporteur for the health reform, Martha Alfonso, and her colleagues from the Alianza Verde party, Catherine Juvinao, Cristian Avendaño and Katherine Miranda. “Martha, first, don’t bully me,” Juvinao told Afonso, who looked quite upset.

12:20 p. m.: several alternative congressmen asked to shelve the health reform bill through a proposition. Among other things, they express concern about the role that the Administrator of the Resources of the General System of Social Security in Health (Adres) will have and if her capacities will be sufficient for the functions assigned to her by the articles.

These are the signatures of the alternative congressmen who asked to archive the health reform. – Photo: supplied

Among other signatories of the proposal are Julia Miranda Londoño (New Liberalism), Katherine Miranda, Daniel Carvalho (Verde Oxígeno), Jennifer Pedraza (Dignity), Cristian Danilo Avendaño (Green Alliance) and Catherine Juvinao (Green Alliance).

12:00 m.: The president of the Chamber, David Racero, also declared himself unable to vote on the health reform, since he has relatives in the third degree of consanguinity who are part of the health sector. The representatives Alexander Guarín, Jorge Méndez Hernández, Edison Vladimir Olaya, Hugo Danilo Lozano, Juan Loreto Gómez, Ángela María Vergara, Héctor Mauricio Cuéllar and Óscar Sánchez León also entered this block of impediments.

The impediments, however, were denied after registering 20 yes votes and 81 no votes.

Commission Seventh House of Representatives Health Reform
The representative David Racero, of the Historical Pact, has shown his support for the health reform of the national government since it was being debated in the Seventh Commission of the House. – Photo: WILLIAM TORRES REINA

11:50 a. m.: the opposition parties Centro Democrático and Cambio Radical announce that they are going to have a bench meeting, for which they will be absent from the plenary session for a few minutes.

11:35 a. m.: several representatives declared themselves unable to vote on the bill. Among those mentioned are Hernando Guida Ponce, César Cristian Gómez Castro, Saray Elena Robayo, Sandra Bibiana Aristizabal and Juan David López Tenorio. The impediments were then voted on.

The result was 32 votes for yes and 74 votes for no, with which this block of impediments was denied.

11:20 a. m.: artillery is prepared against the initiative. The Democratic Center and Conservative parties will file negative papers on the health reform. They could have support from various congressmen, including some from the Green Alliance. Another group of more than 20 congressmen will file a proposal to file the initiative.

11:05 a. m.: The ordinary session begins in the House of Representatives. Reconciliation reports of two other projects are approved.

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2023-06-01 19:52:30