Resolution limiting government participation in state-owned health plans is revoked — Senate News

In a semi-attendance session this Wednesday (1st), the Senate Plenary approved the Draft Legislative Decree (PDL) 342/2021, which suspends the effects of Resolution 23, of 2018, of the former Ministry of Planning. This resolution addresses the funding rules for federal state-owned companies on employee health care benefits (among the various measures it establishes is the limitation on the contribution of state-owned companies to employee health plans that are organized in the form of self-management). The approval of the text, which is going to promulgation, was welcomed by state employees who followed the vote.

According to the author of the bill, federal deputy Erika Kokay (PT-DF), the resolution — now revoked — limits the contribution of state-owned companies to employee health plans that are organized in the form of self-management. According to her, the resolution exorbits the executive’s regulatory power by contradicting the rules of the Health Plans Law (Law 9656, of 1998) and harming the acquired rights of employees of state-owned companies, which would be guaranteed in collective negotiations and in statutes. The deputy also argues that the resolution is unconstitutional for violating the right to freedom of association.

Rapporteur for the matter in the Senate, Romário (PL-RJ) voted in favor of Erika Kokay’s bill. The senator stated that the resolution is unconstitutional for unduly restricting the employees’ right to health and violating workers’ acquired rights to maintain the conditions of the employment contract.

— Despite declaring that it establishes guidelines and parameters for the funding of federal state-owned companies on employee health care benefits, in reality [a resolução] restricts the right to health of employees of state-owned companies. This is because in several of these public companies and mixed capital companies a health plan for employees was instituted, in the self-management modality, with a certain financial participation of the company and employees. With the aforementioned resolution, what you have is the employer simply declaring that it will contribute the smallest amount to the aforementioned plan, without any type of compensation, compensation or even transition – said Romário when reading his report.

The senator also argued that the resolution, due to its infra-legal normative-hierarchical status, cannot contradict what the law says.

— Now, if the law does not require this requirement and, moreover, expressly excludes this requirement, a resolution could never institute it. In doing so, it clearly exceeds the regulatory power, which requires its suspension by the National Congress.

Expense Limits

Government leader in the Senate, Fernando Bezerra Coelho (MDB-PE) was against the project reported by Romário.

— The leadership wants to establish a position: this matter has important repercussions for the accounts of state-owned companies, notably Caixa Econômica Federal, Correios, Petrobras. These companies have instruments to promote health care for their employees. This resolution imposed limits so that expenses do not exceed 8% of total payroll charges. And this limit is very important so that the parity between what is paid for by the civil servant and what is paid for by the state-owned company is not broken. What was sought was to create limits so that companies are not pressured and the government is not forced to make contributions – he argued.

On the other hand, several senators supported the repeal of this resolution. Eduardo Braga (MDB-AM) declared that the project reported by Romário does justice to state-owned workers who maintain a self-management plan. Otto Alencar (PSD-BA), who also defended the project, said that the resolution aimed to remove guaranteed rights from public servants and retirees. Jean Paul Prates (PT-RN) stated that the project “saves the self-management of health plans and does not make it easier for those who want to buy state-owned companies in the wake of the pandemic”. Other senators who defended the revocation were Omar Aziz (PSD-AM), Veneziano Vital do Rêgo (MDB-PB), Nelsinho Trad (PSD-MS), Carlos Portinho (PL-RJ) and Randolfe Rodrigues (Rede-AP).

Agência Senado (Reproduction authorized upon citation of Agência Senado)