Home » Foreign Woman Leaves Hospital Without Paying $245,000 Bill for Giving Birth: Salta’s Controversial Health Care Policy

Foreign Woman Leaves Hospital Without Paying $245,000 Bill for Giving Birth: Salta’s Controversial Health Care Policy

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Foreign Woman Leaves Hospital Without Paying $245,000 Bill for Giving Birth: Salta’s Controversial Health Care Policy

A woman of Bolivian nationality recently made headlines after leaving the San Vicente de Paul Hospital in Orán, Salta, without paying a bill of approximately $245,000 for medical expenses incurred during childbirth. The incident occurred in the context of a change in health care policy for foreigners implemented by Governor Gustavo Sáenz earlier this year.

The woman arrived at the hospital accompanied by her husband, who is a resident of Oran. However, she was unable to provide documentation proving her residence in Argentina. As a result, the hospital made a complaint and requested the intervention of Immigration.

Despite leaving the hospital in disgust upon learning the cost of medical care, the couple returned later with the woman in advanced labor. The necessary assistance was provided to both mother and baby. The following day, the couple was informed of the total expenses, but the husband, an Argentine resident, argued that it was not their responsibility to pay and they left with the baby. A legal complaint was subsequently filed against the woman.

The hospital manager stressed the importance of verifying the woman’s immigration status, as she could potentially be in the country illegally. Salta is the only province that currently charges non-resident foreigners for medical care. The measure, implemented to ensure solvency of the public health system, exempts emergency cases from charges but requires payment for other services.

As a result of the new policy, hospital consultations have significantly dropped in Salta, with attendance decreasing from an average of 30 patients per day to less than 10. This trend is particularly evident in towns bordering Bolivia, such as Tartagal and Orán, where March saw a significant decrease in daily hospital visits.

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The decision to charge non-resident foreigners for medical care was officially announced at the end of February, with Governor Sáenz emphasizing the need to recover a portion of the public health budget through this measure. The goal is to ensure the financial stability of the provincial health system.

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