Inmigrantes irregulares y derecho a la asistencia sanitaria: efectividad de las garantías internacionales en los órganos judiciales

di Carmen Salcedo Beltrán

Si por algo se caracteriza un período de crisis económica en un país es por la modificación o adopción de normas de tipo fiscal, laboral o mercantil, normalmente de marcado perfil restrictivo. España no ha sido ajena a esa realidad, viéndose, además, forzada a ello tras la recepción de ayuda financiera por parte de las instituciones de la Unión Europea, que, lógicamente, se supeditó al cumplimiento de unos compromisos dirigidos a controlar el déficit público. Concretamente, el 25 de junio de 2012 la solicitó oficialmente, en el contexto del proceso de restructuración y recapitalización del sector bancario.


One of the reforms of the Spanish Government that has received more criticism since the economic crisis began has been the one enforced by Royal Decree-Law 16/2012, dated 20 April, on urgent measures to ensure the sustainability of the National Health System and improve the quality and safety of its services. He proceeded to modify the requirements for compulsory insurance coverage, requiring as a condition sine qua non to enjoy ‘insured status’ to have legal residency.

Responses were immediate, among others, appeals on the unconstitutionality of such measure, the right of conscientious objection of many health professionals as well as the approval of the autonomous communities of legislation providing such protection, which, in turn, has also been contested by the Government. While the resolution of this conflict is still pending at the constitutional level, international organizations have already acted in this sense, being categorical in the issued resolutions condemning Spain for breach of its international obligations.

The central government announced, months prior to the elections, that it would modify this regulation, but, for now, no amend has been materialized. While this situation continues, the law allows courts, under the control of compliance with international law reflected in the arts. 10 and 96 of the Spanish Constitution, developed by Law 25/2014, of 27 November, Treaties and Other International Agreements, to protect possible claims and/or interpretations of the treaties contrary to its original aims and to protect the medical staff against possible sanctions. Thus, the importance of knowledge of international law and its direct invocation as an instrument of effectiveness and enforceability of the rights recognized is rightly evidenced by this situation.

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