Castilla y León is home to 5% of the Spanish population, but manages almost 40% of the health clinics throughout the State. Cantabria spends 100,000 euros a day on school transport compared to 80,000 euros in the Community of Madrid. These are two of the data revealed by the eight regional presidents of the oldest and most depopulated Spain who have met this Tuesday in Santiago. The leaders of Galicia, Castilla y León, Castilla-La Mancha, Asturias, Extremadura, Cantabria, Aragón and La Rioja, all of them territories hit by depopulation, the dispersion of inhabitants and aging, propose that the new regional financing be governed by a more “dynamic” formula that guarantees “similar services” in all corners of the State.
In the document agreed at the Santiago Forum, in addition to recognizing how it was planned that all territories are under-financed and should not lose money, the communities consider it key to “get the definition of the real costs involved in essential services” key. For this, they not only propose to give more weight to the demographic factors that make education, health and care for dependents more expensive and to study the impact of unemployment and the level of income, but also that the new distribution of State funds is adapted better to the changes, to the evolution of the expenses that support the autonomic coffers. They demand that the resources received by each community be linked both “to the evolution of spending needs” and to regulatory developments or the creation of services promoted by the central government.
The agreement between the oldest and most depopulated autonomies suggests that the negotiation of the new autonomous financing model reserves a “special analysis” for health spending that continues to grow and the effects of the pandemic. “The weight of health in the system must be adapted to the real spending of the autonomous communities, including the structural costs left by the pandemic,” includes the institutional statement of 35 points agreed by the regional presidents of the PP, PSOE and the Regionalist Party of Cantabria (PRC). The document calls for “periodic reviews” to adjust the indicators and their weighting, assessing “appropriately” the impact that the population over 65 has on the need for more public money for health.
Appealing to “institutional loyalty” and “legal security”, the communities gathered in Santiago urge that the measures promoted by the State that “may have affected regional income and expenses, as well as those that may arise” be quantified. new services to be managed by the regional administrations. To take care of the dependency, they demand “sufficient financing” for the coverage established by the law approved 15 years ago. And they affect the need to pay special attention to those over 85 years of age, “where a greater percentage of large dependents who are recipients of the most intensive care in the system are concentrated.”
“We play a lot”, has warned the president of Castilla y León, Alfonso Fernández Mañueco (PP), who to illustrate the expenses generated by the dispersion of the population pointed out that his community maintains almost 2 out of 10 ten regional roads that make up Spain. The signatories have been eager to emphasize that the meeting “is not held against anyone.” The agreed document “contributes and adds”, defends the Castilian-Manchego Emiliano García Page (PSOE), while Concha Andreu (PSOE), president of La Rioja, assures that it is born from the “desire to help the Government of Spain.” “Today the anger and noise are not news, but the approach and dialogue,” proclaimed the host, the Galician Alberto Núñez Feijóo (PP).
Apart from the reform of regional financing, the document signed by the eight presidents calls for birth incentives to alleviate the territorial imbalances suffered by Spain, expresses its support for the central government to universalize “with the necessary economic support” early childhood education from 0 to 3 years and demands that the EU declare Teruel, Soria and Cuenca “sparsely populated areas”. These communities also advocate for a “great national compact” to combat the shortage of physicians.
However, not everything has been a consensus, has recognized the Cantabrian president Miguel Ángel Revilla. The lack of agreement has prevented all the presidents from signing a claim from the communities that oppose the ban on wolf hunting decreed by the central government. Extremadura and La Rioja have been unmarked. Revilla has vindicated the communities of the Santiago Forum as “the real Spain” that “produces meat, milk and wheat”: “The financing [autonómica] It should not be done per inhabitant, because if not, we are helping to have more Madrid, more Barcelona, more Valencia and more Seville ”.
Galicia calculates an annual extra cost of 500 million in health
The Xunta calculates that aging and dispersion cause an annual health surcharge of 500 million euros in Galicia. 24% of the Galician population is over 65 years of age, five points above the Spanish average, an age group in continuous growth to which half of hospitalized patients belong and which accounts for more than 60% of drug spending prescribed, according to the data managed by the Galician Government.
The dispersion of the population, argues the Xunta, also multiplies the needs for health and educational infrastructures. And it provides a piece of information: despite the fact that Galicians represent 6% of all Spaniards, the regional coffers finance 14% of the health centers in Spain and 8% of the schools. The transportation of students to class is almost four times more expensive than the state average, adds the Executive of Feijóo.