In Spain, adult undocumented migrants have been excluded from essential healthcare since Royal Decree-Law 16/2012 came into effect in September 2012. Undocumented pregnant women and children were explicitly exempted by this new law, yet they too have been frequently denied access to essential services since the decree came into force: the political message on exclusion of undocumented migrants was stronger than the law.
A nationwide network co-hosted by MdM Spain, www.reder162012.org, has just released a new report about the impact of the 2012 legal changes that changed universal healthcare coverage into a work-based system, accompanied by video testimonies of patients.
On a sample of 1,567 cases collected between 01/2014 and 07/2015 in 12 autonomous communities:
- Among the people who did not have access to healthcare, there were many cases of cancer (31), cardiovascular disease (38), degenerative muscular disease (14), other types of degenerative diseases (8), 28 other life-threatening conditions if treatment is not granted, and serious mental health problems (27);
- 109 minors and 78 pregnant women were denied access, and 224 individuals were denied emergency care provision. These numbers demonstrate the systematic non-compliance of the protected exceptions in the law.
- Regional responses to remedy to the situation created by the national RDL 16/2012 are not sufficient: 73% of documented cases came from regions with some form of healthcare coverage for the uninsured;
- 12% of the people seen came to ask for help to understand the law. 22% were unaware of the fact that they actually had the right to a health card (in their specific region of residence). 12% were denied a health card despite their right to get one (misinformed administration staff).
REDER calls for the restitution of universal access to healthcare!