Madrid begins denying health cards to illegal migrants
Region takes measure just 10 days after central government announcement of policy change
Order criticized by patient associations, such as AIDS advocacy group Seisida
The Madrid regional government has ordered its officials not to hand out health cards to migrants who cannot prove they are legal residents of Spain.
In an administrative order dated May 4, the Madrid government began restricting illegal migrants from accessing medical services just 10 days after the central government issued a decree proposing changes to Spain's free-treatment-for-all policy as part of a series of budget cut measures.
The order has already been criticized by patient associations, such as the AIDS advocacy group Seisida.
According to the internal document, which was given to EL PAÍS, any migrant who cannot present a residency card will be denied free healthcare.
Beforehand, migrants only had to show that they were registered on municipal rolls in order to apply for a health card.