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Phenix Center: The government, not third-party providers, must guarantee healthcare

The Phenix Center for Economic and Informatics Studies has demanded the government to intervene in the current crisis between Jordanian insurance companies and the Jordanian Medical Association (JMA) regarding the medical pay regulation. This is to ensure the protection of Jordanian citizens’ right to affordable healthcare.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, August 22nd, Phenix Center stated that the formation of a committee headed by Secretary General of the Ministry of Health to determine to find solutions to both sides will likely lead to increasing wages for medical staff, and therefore an increase in insurance payments which would not be a solution to the problem.

According to the statement, the current crisis between the JMA and the insurance companies highlights significant gaps in Jordan’s healthcare system. This crisis extends beyond a mere financial dispute between two legal parties, but rather, this conflict poses a greater systematic threat to the Right to Health for hundreds of thousands of Jordanians.

Even if the insurance companies and the JMA reach a settlement through the joint committee, the terms of their agreement could negatively impact Jordanian citizens which would be reflected in higher insurance payments, reduced coverage, and limitations to essential medical services.

The statement emphasized the need for the government to reevaluate its approach towards healthcare. The statement went on to say there is an urgent need for a paradigm shift, redefining the role of the state not as a bystander with a marginalized role, but as a fundamental player whose role will grow and help establish universal healthcare with the highest possible quality for its citizens.

The Phenix Center pointed out that the fundamental principle of the right to health was enshrined in the International Bill of Human Rights, namely the International Covenant on Economic and Social Rights, which affirmed that that right was not a privilege, but a fundamental and universal right that each state must ensure.

The Phenix Center noted that the fundamental principles of the right to health emphasize that all citizens, regardless of their social and economic level, must receive the highest attainable standard of health care. This noble vision of health as a universal right is currently challenge in Jordan, revealing a mismatch between the state’s obligations and its economic choices.

The Phenix Center believes that the government’s implementation of austerity measures for three  consecutive decades, in line with the directives of the international financial institutions, in particular the International Monetary Fund, have led to significant shifts in the national health care landscape.

Phenix Center cautioned that this shift from a state-based health-care system to a market-driven system casts doubt on the state’s commitment to protecting citizens’ Right to Health.

The statement explained that the decline in the state’s role in its commitment to the right to health and health care, intentionally or unintentionally, has elevated corporate interests often at the expense of citizens.

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