Spain: Health cuts for non-regular immigrants

24 April, 18:06

(ANSAmed) - MADRID, APRIL 24 - Irregular immigrants in Spain have received a hard blow with cuts for them in health expenses.

As written today in the ''Boletin Oficial del Estado'' (BOE) the official Spanish government journal, these people will remain without their health card from the August 31 should they not be able to prove their contribution to the national insurance. Up until now foreigners only had to sign up at the local registry office to obtain the card which entitles you to a basic medical service. However, government sources claim that any immigrant will continue to have access to Emergency and First Aid, especially minors and pregnant women who will continue having full access to the healthcare system as the law states. According to a survey published today by El Pais it is calculated that 150,000 cards will be terminated should these immigrants be unable to prove their enrolment with the national insurance and the proof of tax payment in the country. The average savings in health are estimated to be around 250 million euros instead of the 500 million initially predicted by PM Mariano Rajoy's government. At the moment there are 459,946 foreigners registered at the local councils, of which the majority (306,477) are EU residents who are not obliged to sign up at the foreigners' registry office and who therefore are excluded from the decree. At the same time the decree states that ''the administrative bodies dealing with immigration will be able to communicate to the National Insurance Institute the information necessary to prove the status of the immigrant also without the person's consent.'' The new law contains ''urgent measures to guarantee the sustainability of the national health system'', with which the government is aiming to reduce by 7 billion euros a year in order to make this year's mark of 5.3% GDP set by Brussels. It also introduces grants for chemist purchases, that being 10% for pensioners, up to 60% for salaries over 100,000 euros a year - and the payment of prosthesis, dietary products and non urgent health transport which are considered to be added services paid by the user. Autonomous communities will have up to June 30 to change their financial output to the new decree. Protests against these restrictions to healthcare for immigrants in an irregular position have come from associations such as SOS Racismo who calls the decree ''unconstitutional'' and pose the threat of increasing ''Social exclusion and conflict''. The State federation of associations for immigrants and refugees considers the health cuts for foreigners to be ''an aggression'' and reminded that this minority is the one that makes less use of healthcare and medicine compared to the rest of Spaniards. (ANSAmed).