Aguascalientes Governor Martín Orozco Sandoval has rejected the federal government’s new universal healthcare scheme, declaring that he will defend its predecessor “to the death.”
Speaking at a community event on Thursday, the governor said he will not sign a letter of intent with the federal government to eliminate the Seguro Popular program in the state.
The National Institute of Health for Well-Being (Insabi), a new federal agency tasked with implementing and managing the new healthcare scheme, is set to begin operations in Aguascalientes in April.
But Orozco asserted that Seguro Popular, which provides healthcare for people not covered by the IMSS and ISSSTE social security schemes, will continue to operate even if it no longer exists at the federal level.
“[People] have the right to receive decent healthcare from the state so everyone who has this service will continue to be attended to . . .” he said.
Orozco said the governors of eight states haven’t signed a letter of intent with federal authorities to terminate the Seguro Popular and stressed that “we won’t do it.”
He predicted that 2020 will be a challenging year for the healthcare sector but pledged to defend state-run medical services and increase the availability of medicines for the 1.3 million people who call Aguascalientes home.
“. . . Your friend Martín Orozco . . . will defend Seguro Popular or the service that Seguro Popular provided in Aguascalientes to the death,” the National Action Party governor declared.
Orozco subsequently reiterated his position in a Twitter post.
“The health of families in Aguascalientes is a priority; we will not allow health services in our state to be harmed. Today I reaffirm my commitment to Aguascalientes society to avoid the centralization of the health sector,” he wrote.
For his part, the federal government’s social programs delegate in Aguascalientes said that an agreement is still being sought with Orozco’s government so that the Insabi scheme can be introduced in state-run healthcare facilities.
“There is an issue that is being analyzed by the Secretariat of Health and the state government in order for Aguascalientes to join the agreement,” Aldo Ruiz Sánchez said.
The Insabi scheme, first announced by President López Obrador last April, has been touted as completely free but some patients in Mexico City and México state have reported that they have had to buy their own medicines and medical supplies and pay for their hospital stays.
Source: El Universal (sp)