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Spanish Physicians Mount Online Campaign to Protest Cuts to Immigrant Health Care

BY Lisa Goldman | Tuesday, September 11 2012

Screenshot taken from Derecho a Curar website

With Spain deeply mired in a double dip recession that has resulted in a massive financial crisis, including 25 percent unemployed, the government announced a new round of spending cuts that would prevent undocumented immigrants from receiving free health care.

As the Associated Press reports, the government's "...decision contradicts a pillar of Spain's welfare state — free health care for anyone in need." The government will save about $1.9 billion annually; local media reports that the cuts will affect about 900,000 undocumented immigrants living in Spain.

While Spaniards and immigrants demonstrated on the streets, Spanish health care providers created a protest campaign on social media, under the umbrella of Medicos del Mundo. The campaign, Derecho a Curar (Right to a Cure), includes a Facebook page, Twitter hashtag and YouTube video, with the latter (below) subtitled in English.

The video begins with a physician wearing a lab coat and stethoscope raising his right and intoning, in a modified version of the Hippocratic Oath, "I swear I will apply my medical knowledge and skills for the treatment of Spanish citizens and foreigners with legal papers only." It continues with one medical provider after another swearing similar oaths. Then the camera shows they are crossing their fingers behind their backs to indicate they have no intention of abiding by the new law.

Holding up their crossed fingers, the health care providers chorus: "Health is a universal right! That is why we have sworn to provide medical services without discrimination and we will continue to do so."

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