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What will happen now with the health reform in Congress?

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What will happen now with the health reform in Congress?

Efraín Cepeda, head of the conservatives, announces that the party will vote yes or no with the bench.


Despite the legislative recess for Easter, the discussion for the future of the health reform is still in force. Efraín Cepeda, president of the Conservative Party, announced that “the official decision and the background of the bench, which will be mandatory, will be taken on Tuesday the 11th and it will not be, I assure you, to leave liberties. We are not going in middle lines, we are going yes or no or our recommendations are accepted or we will not be there ”.

This means that in terms of the conservative vote there will be only one block. Cepeda’s position, however, contrasts with what happened on Friday afternoon when the representative of the Conservative Party for the department of Tolima, Gerardo Yepes, delivered his signature so that the government could file the paper. “I did it autonomously, it was not fair to close the debate on the reform,” the parliamentarian justified himself.

For Yepes, the situation is easy to explain: nothing has been approved yet, only a paper was filed to give the starting point for the discussion. In the Party it was believed that no decision should be made before the parliamentary meeting because they consider that their contributions to the articles have been discarded.

In this process, Cepeda warns of the difficulty in reaching consensus with the Minister of Health, Carolina Corcho. She said that the Government has two facets. One when they talk to President Gustavo Petro and Interior Minister Alfonso Prada and a very different one when they talk to the minister.

Efraín Cepeda, president of the Conservative Party.

For Cepeda, the agreements that are reached with the official verbally disappear from the writings. “Minister Corcho’s team has agreed on issues with our technical teams that are not reflected in the articles,” she said. “We reached consensus with President Petro, then with the Minister of Health, Carolina Corcho, the technicians have met for long hours and what is reflected in the project that is presented is not in accordance with what had been agreed.”

It may interest you: The presentation of the health reform was filed

“The transaction costs of not agreeing on the process and the content of the health reform are extremely high for Colombians and for Casa de Nariño, because the project walks on a razor’s edge characterized by two abysses. The first is a negative vote and its corresponding collapse in Commission VII or in the plenary session of the House of Representatives,” says analyst Jairo Libreros.

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“And the second abyss is a consequence of the Lentejismo operation led by Minister Carolina Corcho, that is, negotiating its approval with representatives of the ‘U’ and Conservative parties without the endorsement of its president and its president, which could lead to the rupture of the government alliance before the local elections in October, due to a decision to rupture due to disloyalty that would compromise the governability of the House of Nariño: these two collectivities, and even Liberalismon, would declare themselves independent parties or of opposition”, adds Booksellers.

The Minister of Health, Carolina Corcho.

For some analysts, regardless of what is going to happen, what the national government did was to obtain valuable time with the Easter break. “The government of Gustavo Petro, Minister Prada and Minister Corcho played the hard card of looking for members of the Conservative party and the ‘U’ party to sign the paper,” says analyst Aurelio Suárez. “That does not mean that the law is approved, but the Government gains a time that would be much longer and would put difficulties, in this legislature, the course and the normal development of the presentation.”

“What will be the reaction of the parties, specifically ‘la U’ and the Conservative Party”, asks Suárez. “This attraction to the representatives Ávila and Yepes will be rejected in a profound way and will put them more against the Government and its proposals,” he predicts.

Corcho, Racero, Petro and Lizcano in meeting with the parties.

What will this have to do with the fact that the Alianza Verde party is going to give freedom to its members, is the new concern. “It is to be resolved in the next week, but the prospect may be that this attitude of Petro and his ministers provokes or, at least, further acrimonize relations already deteriorated due to Minister Corcho’s failure to transcribe or stop transcribing the proposals that they had agreed upon and present a project that is almost totally unaware of them».

«Specifically in relation to the remuneration of the EPS if it is 5% or if it is 5% plus a 3% incentive for indicators and especially around taking the Adres and dividing it into seven regional funds that are left at the mercy of the dominant political and economic classes at the territorial level. In my opinion, this can generate even more rejection than the reform already had,” concludes Suárez.

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It may interest you: Is the health reform sinking?

The broken trust between the parties was what led to the distance and, for now, irreconcilable with the Liberal party.

“We have made a lot of progress with President Petro in convincing him that the best thing is an agreement. We are not close, given the difficulty in accepting the issue of risk management, which is an essence of the system, that is quite a big stumbling block. In any case, a climate of respect, of understanding has been achieved, of working every day with the presidents of the parties and the Government. The talks with the head of state have been good and we are working in a direction that satisfies him,” said former President César Gaviria Trujillo a few days ago.

The head of the Liberal party, César Gaviria.

“The minister is a bit more complicated and she’s not afraid of being told that the system could collapse if we take more time,” Gaviria argued in the forum The third way to reform the health system of the Faculty of Economics of the University of Rosario and Forums Ágora.

The Liberals have already announced that they will vote negatively and that they will bring their own text to the next legislature. That is to say, for them, this reform is already sunk and another will come in the second semester.

The situation is different with the conservatives and the ‘U’ party, although not necessarily better.

With the presentation of the presentation, last Friday at 5:20 pm, almost secretly and with the signature of two representatives (one conservative and the other from ‘la U’) despite the fact that the heads of their parties had already said that they will not support the project, the differences between President Petro and the heads of the traditional parties that are part of the coalition seem almost irreconcilable.

From various sectors the crisis of the coalition is already seen as inevitable. «I think that the coalition is going to recompose itself for a series of laws, but this is already broken. This is going to begin to unravel until the local elections. But the solidity of last semester will not be seen in this one,” said Senator Ariel Ávila, from Alianza Verde.

That party is part of the coalition together with the Historical Pact, the liberals, conservatives, ‘la U’ and Comunes. Six communities that add up to 124 of the 186 representatives to the Chamber and 76 of the 106 senators.

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It may interest you: The health reform: social security or social system?

Votes that at the beginning of 2022 seemed more than enough to approve any reform, but that this 2022 are by no means fixed for the Government.

Congress of the Republic, must review.

But, how did the steamroller go from approving, without major obstacles, the highest tax reform in the country’s history to being aware of the vote-by-vote count to see if the health reform is saved?

The cracks began to be seen in December of last year, due to another project, the political reform, which, although it had the support of the Government, was more deeply felt by the powerful senator Roy Barreras and that the minorities, including those of the coalition, they always criticized.

That initiative passed 4 debates in the past semester —because it was a legislative act it required a double round—, but in the fifth it was shipwrecked by the rebellion of several of the coalition parties.

The most petrista Historical Pact, that of Cámara, took advantage of the opportunity to collect serious differences with Roy and joined the rebellion. And finally, President Petro and the president of Congress himself had no other option than to withdraw the project.

But not only Roy Barreras’ relations with the Pact suffered. Also those of Roy with Ariel Ávila, who is one of the most visible figures of the coalition and who tells the president of Congress and the Government to wash their hands of various controversial figures brought by the reform —the revolving door between Congress and the Government , For example-.

The three heads of the majority parties in Congress—there are 38 senators and 75 representatives—closed the door on health reform. But the Government did not stand still and began to negotiate vote by vote to save the reform.

There are 21 representatives in Commission VII of the Chamber. There are 5 safe votes (Covenant and Commonwealth), so the Government must get at least 6, which would be in the two peace seats, one conservative, one green and one from ‘the U’. But they need at least one Liberal to get the 11 they need to have a majority.

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