On Wednesday (4), the Federal Senate approved a bill allowing Lula’s government not to comply with the minimum healthcare payment requirements for 2023. There were 63 votes in favour, against only two. The proposal goes to the president for approval.
The device was included in a bill that would allow revenue reimbursement to states and municipalities as a result of the ICMS reduction on fuel, which was effective between June and December 2022.
The possibility of abolishing the health ceiling was included by MP Zica Djerciu (PT-PR), even when the project was being processed in the Chamber of Deputies. The proposal was not included in the Senate agenda on Wednesday, but was approved as an additional agenda.
With the possibility of not meeting the health minimum, the text removed the obligation to allocate 15% of net current revenues to health. For health, it will be necessary to disburse an additional amount of R $ 20 billion.
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Senator Teresa Cristina (PP-MS) highlighted the project – for a later vote – with the aim of removing the article that predicted that the government would not adhere to the ceiling, but it ended up being defeated during the vote in the plenary session.
The senator said: “Deleting this article is a critical measure to ensure that government policies are consistent with the principles and legal obligations established by Congress, and to enhance transparency, credibility, and sustainability of public finances.”
Among the votes against the project, only Senators Eduardo Girão (Novo-CE) and Carlos Porteño (PL-RJ) refused to approve the proposal that foresees non-compliance with the ceiling. Six other parliamentarians from Hizb ut-Tahrir supported the project. All Labor senators voted to approve the motion.
In the consultation, the department questions whether the constitutional limit should apply in 2023. Congress approved the framework in August. The government wants to know if the mandatory minimum will only be valid from 2024 onwards.
“It is easier to increase revenues, as taxes on offshore companies are now being voted on, than to cut spending. In such a poor country, this is not a simple decision. You have to have the courage to do it. And in the worst-case scenario, improve the quality of spending. Take from those who don’t deserve it and give it to those who need it. If we can flip this switch, we will have a new Brazil,” said Tippett.
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