Salta to start charging foreigners for healthcare

The provincial authorities said they'd made the decision to compensate for funding cuts by Argentina’s national government

Gustavo Sáenz and Guillermo Francos. February 2024. Télam.

Salta province will charge foreign nationals for medical care received in its public health system. Governor Gustavo Sáenz passed the measure via decree on Tuesday.

People who have suffered accidents or whose life is at risk will not be denied care, Salta Health Minister Federico Mangione said during a press conference on Wednesday.

He said a recent study had found that 5-10% of the province’s public health budget was being spent on foreign nationals, including for complex procedures such as surgery and the fitting of prostheses. 

The provincial government took the decision in an attempt to compensate for cuts to funding from the national government, according to Mangione. In the rest of Argentina, the public healthcare system is free for nationals and foreigners alike. 

“Any resource that I use in our public healthcare system for someone who is not from Salta, that’s leaving me without a resource for a salteño,” he said.

“Under no circumstances will transitory patients be charged if they have had an accident or if their life is at risk,” he said. “They will be treated, the problem is solved, and then we will look at who will be billed for the fees and costs.”

A report from earlier this week showed that 3,800 foreign nationals received healthcare in Salta’s hospitals in the previous three months, Mangione said, although he did not offer specifics about what sort of treatment they received or whether any of them were resident in Argentina. 

The charges will apply to foreign nationals with transitory or precarious residence, but those who are resident in Argentina and have a DNI will not be required to pay. 

Transitory residence is a form of short residence to perform specific tasks in Argentina that does not give the holder an Argentine ID card (DNI, by its Spanish initials). Precarious residence is the category granted to people applying for residence in Argentina as they wait to complete the application process.


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