Argentina: National health sector strike and "No to CUS"

15 March 2017
The "NO to CUS" coalition composed of the ATE, CTA, FESPROSA , the General Medicine Federation and other organisations met in Buenos Aires on 9 March, only 48 hours after the national health sector strike against the wage ceiling, and in support of a wage increase in line with inflation and unrestricted negotiations.

The health sector strike on 6-7 March coincided with a teachers’ strike and a general strike.

What’s the problem with the CUS?
Universal Health Coverage (CUS) is the policy advocated by the President Mauricio Macri-led government which rode to power with a slogan of “change.” The World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank have promoted this policy since 2005. The term “coverage” is synonymous internationally with insurance. The CUS is a minimum insurance policy with payments based on a basket of basic goods.

It aims to help families avoid "having to pay devastatingly high costs for health events". This is the WHO’s central idea. However, this would mean that "families" have no access to a free quality health care system in the event of illness. We are fighting against the World Bank’s insurance coverage policy and instead, call for a government-funded service in which government institutions provide health care that is free, of good quality, universal (for the entire population) and comprehensive (from primary care to transplants).

What do we stand for?
The system we advocate can be summarised in the slogan “everyone has a right to health and it is the state’s duty to provide health care.” With CUS, the wealthy will have private and luxury health care while the poor will only have access to minimum benefits. Moreover, the big financial players (for example, MAPFRE) will see health insurance as a major business opportunity. For FESPROSA, HEALTH IS A RIGHT AND NOT A COMMODITY.

That is why we are against the government’s health insurance policy, even though they have now perversely added the word universal. We were against the World Bank’s previous programmes – SUMAR and NACER. We now reject the deceitful slogan put forward by the World Bank and the Rockefeller Foundation: "CUS for all by 2030". We will fight for a genuinely universal, comprehensive, free, quality public health service.

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