Council of Ministers

The Government of Spain presents its proposal for improving the National Health System

Moncloa Palace, Madrid, Monday 8 November 2021

The Council of Ministers has analysed the Draft Bill on Measures for the Equity, Universality and Cohesion of the National Health System (NHS).

The Minister for Health, Carolina Darias, stressed that the initiative, which involves the reform of several health laws, will strengthen the NHS and improve and extend citizens' rights with measures that, on one hand, "reduce inequalities in health, so as not to leave anyone behind, and on the other, structurally reinforce cooperation between the different health, educational and social structures".

Darias pointed out that the new law is one of the objectives of the renewal and expansion of NHS capacities included in the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan, includes twelve of the proposals of the Opinion of the Commission for Social and Economic Reconstruction approved in the Lower House of Parliament and responds to the commitments of the investiture and the government pact.

Specific objectives

Foto: Pool Moncloa/Borja Puig de la BellacasaThe regulation establishes direct public management of health and socio-health services as the preferred formula in the NHS and recovers the single common portfolio of services, now divided into a basic common portfolio of care services, supplementary and ancillary services.

It also includes the necessary safeguards to ensure that no new health co-payments can be introduced. At present, the supplementary portfolio includes pharmaceutical, orthopaedic, orthopaedic-prosthetic, dietary and non-urgent health transport services subject to co-payment.

Darias reaffirmed the Government's commitment to progressively eliminate co-payments and recalled that the 2021 General Budget Law already exempts the most vulnerable groups, such as people receiving the Minimum Basic Income (MBI), low-income pensioners, minors with recognised disabilities and people on dependent child income. With the new regulation, these groups will also be exempted from the ortho-prosthetic co-payment.

Another aspect highlighted by the minister was the guarantee of the right to health protection, charged to public funds, for Spanish nationals living abroad during their temporary travel to Spanish territory and their families, as well as for people who are not registered or authorised as residents in Spain. Darias explained that the latter recovered the right in 2018, but that there has not been a uniform application and it is necessary to establish it for the whole territory.

With regard to patients with functional deficits, the law also clarifies that their rehabilitation should be aimed at facilitating, maintaining or restoring the highest possible degree of functional capacity and independence to the patient, in order to maintain their maximum autonomy and reintegrate them into their usual environment.

Finally, the Minister for Health highlighted the objective of contributing to increasing the participation of society and patient organisations in the advisory bodies of the NHS Interterritorial Council.

Amendment to capital gains tax

Foto: Pool Moncloa/Borja Puig de la BellacasaBy means of a Royal Decree-Law, the Government has approved the amendment to the Tax on the Increase in Value of Urban Land, known as capital gains tax, following the 26 October ruling of the Constitutional Court that accepted the objective method of calculating the taxable base as valid as long as it was not obligatory and reflected the reality of the real estate market.

From now on, the determination of the taxable base can be chosen by the taxpayer between the multiplication of the land registry value by previously established coefficients - objective system - or the difference between the transfer value and the acquisition value of a plot of land. Local councils will have six months from the entry into force of the regulation to adapt to it.

The Minister for Territorial Policy and Government Spokesperson, Isabel Rodríguez, has assured that this reform will ensure that local councils will not have to cut back on their services, as they will have guaranteed funding through this tax - in 2019 they collected 2.5 billion euros - and that citizens will not have to pay taxes when the sale or purchase they make does not generate profits: "They will not have to pay a single euro if they have not earned any money from the sale of their house".

Tax exemption on aid to La Palma

The Council of Ministers has agreed that all public aid for the destruction of homes or buildings due to the eruption of the volcano on La Palma will not be taxed for personal income tax and corporation tax purposes, as the President of the Government of Spain announced on Saturday during his visit to the Canary Island. "Our commitment is to provide a permanent and timely response and to improve all assistance mechanisms," Rodríguez stressed.

Popular consultation on the merger of two towns in Extremadura

The Executive has granted its regulatory approval to the Extremaduran town councils of Don Benito and Villanueva de la Serena to hold a referendum on the merger of the two towns.

These councils, explained Isabel Rodríguez, have committed themselves to moving forwards with the merger procedure if this referendum passes 66% acceptance.

The spokesperson praised the initiative of the neighbouring towns: "They will not only add population and extension, but will generate one of the most important economic development poles in Extremadura, and will also facilitate the efficient management of public funds, services and resources provided to citizens".

Other agreements

  • Investment in high-speed and conventional rail infrastructure in Asturias, Cantabria, Castilla La Mancha, and Galicia.
  • Direct grant of 20 million euros in investments to various entities for Barcelona's cultural and scientific capital.
Non official translation