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Argentina: Universal Health Coverage Plan

(Sept. 2, 2016) On August 2, 2016, Argentina’s Ministry of Health issued Decree No. 908, which creates a Plan for Universal Health Care (PUHC) aimed at improving the quality of primary health care services, developing and modernizing the Integrated Networks of Health Care Services by providing advanced equipment to the public health care system, and promoting and protecting preventive health care. (Decreto 908 of Aug. 2, 2016, BOLETÍN OFICIAL DE LA REPÚBLICA ARGENTINA (Aug. 2, 2016); Por DNU Oficializan el Pago de Deuda a Sindicatos por Obras Sociales y la Creación de la Cobertura Nacional de Salud, EL CRONISTA (Aug. 2, 2016).)

The PUHC will provide health care coverage to 15 million people who currently are cared for by public hospitals. They will be assigned an identification card and recorded in a unified health records database. (4 Claves para Entender el Plan Universal de Salud, INFOBAE (Aug. 2, 2016).) Health care for people with disabilities will be covered and paid for directly through the plan, instead of following the past reimbursement system that was criticized for inefficiencies and delays. (Id.) The PUHC will be assigned a separate financial line item in the budget for health emergencies and epidemics. (Id.)

The management of the PUHC will be headed by a task force with two members from the Ministry of Health, two from the Superintendency of Health Services, and two from the General Federation of Labor Unions. (Por DNU Oficializan el Pago de Deuda a Sindicatos por Obras Sociales y la Creación de la Cobertura Nacional de Salud, supra.) The PUHC will create the Agencia Nacional de Evaluación de Tecnologías in charge of carrying out studies on the best and most efficient drugs and medical procedures available for each patient, thus avoiding waste and overpricing. (4 Claves para Entender el Plan Universal de Salud, supra.) In addition, the plan is designed to reduce health care-related litigation by establishing health care coverage that will not be subject to denials of or authorizations for services. (Id.)