Colombian healthcare workers took to the streets on Tuesday to denounce the crisis in the sector and express their rejection of an overhaul being discussed in Congress because they feel that it will worsen the situation.

In Bogota, workers dressed in white lab coats gathered in National Park prior to marching toward downtown Bolivar Square.

The healthcare overhaul that has already passed the Senate and is pending in the lower house has sparked criticism from different sectors that feel it will not resolve assorted deep-seated problems.

The current system is based on a 1993 piece of legislation, Law 100, which transferred the administration of entities known as EPSs, which are the intermediaries between patients and healthcare providers and which, the workers say, are the ones who receive the greatest economic benefit.

President Juan Manuel Santos' proposal "maintains and strengthens the health business," said the National Interns and Residents Association, or Anir.

The bill now before Congress gives the EPSs "a dominant role in the system, legalizing the appropriation of public health resources in the form of profits," Anir said.

Health Minister Alejandro Gaviria says the controversial bill is aimed at improving the health of Colombians and seeks to overcome the system's historical mistakes.

After a meeting Tuesday with members of Congress, Santos said that the reform seeks "to avoid the financial collapse" of the health sector.

"What we have to do is get the system to work, to be financially sustainable and, above all, to have it translate into ... better service for patients," the president said. EFE