May 19, 2021 - World

Colombian lawmakers vote against health care reform after protests

Protesters in in Bogota, Colombia on May 19, 2021.

Protesters in in Bogotá, Colombia on Wednesday. Photo: Guillermo Legaria/Getty Images

Colombian lawmakers voted against a bill to overhaul health care system after protesters opposed it because it would increase privatization, AP reports.

Why it matters: Massive anti-government protests began several weeks ago against a now-shelved tax reform, but quickly expanded to demand an end to police brutality, economic inequality, and "the withdrawal of the health measure," per AP.

  • Human Rights Watch said in a statement it's received "credible reports" that 55 people have died during the protests. So far, the rights group has confirmed the deaths of 15 protesters and one police officer.

The big picture: Opponents of the health care bill argued that it would have increased privatization of the health care system, potentially leading to the creation of monopolies, per AP.

  • Supporters of the bill claimed it would have helped the country better deal with the coronavirus.
  • Protesters in Bogotá greeted the decision with a round of applause, the Rio Times reports.
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