(Photo via MRE_Bolivia)

The Bolivian government announced this afternoon that it will provide free healthcare to Argentine citizens in its territory.

In an announcement to press, Bolivian Foreign Minister Fernando Huanacuni said the country will adequate “our internal norms to provide reciprocal attention so Argentine citizens enjoy the same rights as Bolivians in our territory.”

“We clear any doubts about alleged tensions between our governments… There is a good level of dialogue in the bilateral relations between both countries that allows for the solving of any issue that might come up in our shared agenda,” added Huanacuni, who was joined by Bolivian Health Minister Ariana Campero.

Moreover, the Foreign Minister announced that the Evo Morales administration will send a commission to Argentina to start working towards implementing the decision.

The announcement ends, to a large extent, the debate that sparked on February 23, after the Jujuy Province government announced its plans to introduce a bill aimed at making sure that foreign, non-resident patients pay for medical care.

We say to a large extent because Jujuy’s bill was mainly aimed at Bolivian citizens, as most foreigners who enter the Northern province seeking medical attention are from that country. But taking into account that Cambiemos Deputy Luis Petri echoed the initiative and introduced yesterday in Congress a bill of its own that would make this a nationwide policy, the national administration is likely to continue seeking to reach agreements of the kind with other countries with which it does not have any.

This morning, the Bolivian government released a statement clarifying that, in contrast with what the media reported yesterday, it was willing to discuss the possibility of signing a reciprocity agreement.

The release explained that a proposal extended the day before by the Argentine government was actually a “general approach to the issue,” and that the answer media interpreted as a rejection was in fact merely stating what Bolivian law currently dictates.

The Macri administration did not interpret it that way though, as Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie said the answer was “unfortunate.” However, today’s statements leave no room for doubt.