SANTIAGO – Members of the union representing municipal health workers protested on Monday outside the Chilean presidential palace against what they see as a government plan to privatize health care in the Andean nation.
The Piñera administration’s proposed upgrade to the country’s National Health Fund (Fonasa) – dubbed Fonasa Plus – is part of a string of changes that will result in the “further precarization of the public system,” according to the union.
Among other things, public hospitals will be forced to compete for resources with private clinics to obtain the funds they require to do their daily work.
The union representatives also said that these proposals are aimed at doing the bidding of the right-wing government, which is set on furthering the current system of marketization of basic rights.
The union says that the current healthcare model has made Chile “one of the most unequal countries in the world,” and that it “segregates” users and precludes them from gaining access to “basic social services, such as education, health, housing, access to culture and a healthy environment.”
At the center of the government’s proposal is giving Fonasa subscribers the option of paying more than the current 7 percent withholding tax that funds the service in exchange for upgraded benefits.
The plan also calls for requiring public hospitals to compete with private clinics for Fonasa’s patronage.