LA PAZ – The Bolivian government denied on Wednesday any “tension” with Argentina over alleged problems in signing a health agreement for Bolivian citizens in that country, and La Paz announced that Argentine residents requiring health care in the Andean country would be treated with “reciprocity.”
Bolivian Foreign Minister Fernando Huanacuni said that the media versions of the situation was “removed from the truth” since they report an “alleged rejection of the signing” of such an agreement.
Huanacuni announced that a commission will travel to Argentina “as soon as possible” with the aim of “discussing the issue of health care for nationals of the two countries.”
He also said that La Paz will begin efforts to modify its internal regulations and thus “authorize reciprocal attention” for Argentines living in Bolivia.
The Argentine Parliament on Tuesday agreed to debate a bill covering public health care services used by non-resident foreigners, claiming that no “reciprocity” exists in neighboring countries.
“There are cases in Bolivia and Chile where Argentines are not allowed to leave unless they pay, and in many cases our consulates have to sign guarantees to pay all health care costs,” said Argentine Cabinet Chief Marcos Peña.
Several Bolivian media outlets reported that La Paz supposedly had rejected an Argentine request for its citizens living in or traveling to the Andean nation to be able to receive treatment at Bolivian hospitals in exchange for allowing Bolivians to receive such care in Argentina.
The Bolivian Foreign Ministry, in a statement released on Tuesday, emphasized that it had not received “any ... agreement regarding medical assistance from the Argentine government” but rather only “a verbal note from the Argentine Embassy in La Paz as a general plan for the intention to sign an agreement.”