Spain to bring back free healthcare for migrants

18 Jun 18

Spain’s new government has pledged to bring back free healthcare for undocumented migrants, which was removed as part of the former administration's cost-cutting.

The move forms part of the plans of Pedro Sanchez’s socialist government to support migrants in Spain.

The country welcomed 629 migrants, which had been drifting in the Mediterranean Sea, to dock in Valencia on Monday after both Italy and Malta had refused to let the rescue ship dock

The government’s proposal to supply free healthcare will be drawn up into draft law, which must be approved by parliament.

A government spokesperson told a news conference: “Healthcare is a right and the protection of health is essential.”

Spain offers universal healthcare to its citizens, though the former centre-right government withdrew the right to general healthcare for undocumented migrants in 2012, as part of a programme to cut spending.

In 2015, the government reinstates the right to access to emergency healthcare but fell short of returning to full health coverage to the estimated 800,000 people in Spain without papers.

The European country receives only a small percentage of asylum claims in Europe and accepts fewer than the EU average, the Spanish Commission for Refugees said.

Sanchez, leader of the Socialist Workers Party, became the country’s prime minister earlier this month after Mariano Rajoy, of the right-wing People’s Party, lost a no-confidence motion in parliament.

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