Author(s): Almeida C, Travassos C, Porto S, Labra ME
Abstract Share this page
Abstract Health sector reform in Brazil built the Unified Health System according to a dense body of administrative instruments for organizing decentralized service networks and institutionalizing a complex decision-making arena. This article focuses on the equity in health care services. Equity is defined as a principle governing distributive functions designed to reduce or offset socially unjust inequalities, and it is applied to evaluate the distribution of financial resources and the use of health services. Even though in the Constitution the term "equity" refers to equal opportunity of access for equal needs, the implemented policies have not guaranteed these rights. Underfunding, fiscal stress, and lack of priorities for the sector have contributed to a progressive deterioration of health care services, with continuing regressive tax collection and unequal distribution of financial resources among regions. The data suggest that despite regulatory measures to increase efficiency and reduce inequalities, delivery of health care services remains extremely unequal across the country. People in lower income groups experience more difficulties in getting access to health services. Utilization rates vary greatly by type of service among income groups, positions in the labor market, and levels of education.
This article was published in Int J Health Serv
and referenced in Review of Public Administration and Management