Escola Paulista de Medicina
Postgraduate in Collective Health

From Bolsonaro to Lula: The opportunity to rebuild universal healthcare in Brazil in the government transition

noticia 07 02 23

This paper takes the government transition that took place between 2022 and 2023 in Brazil as a case study and aims to analyse how a cycle of radical right-wing populist government acted to dismantle Brazil's national health system foundations. It describes how governance was built based on political-clientelism and market-privatising interests and on the adoption of long-term fiscal austerity policies, whose results are public defunding and weakening and disorganisation of the country's national health system, with a significant worsening of health indicators and the capacity to respond to the population health needs. The lessons from recent experience in Brazil should serve as learning and a source of academic and political reflection, since there is an ongoing international movement and signs of rise of radical right-wing populist regimes in several countries, which endanger the Democratic Rule of Law, institutions, and social policies. It allows putting into perspective how political cycles of this nature can affect national universal health systems, including those that have experienced substantial progress towards universal access and universal health coverage. Keeping in mind the Brazilian experience, it was possible to observe the progressive structuring of a radical right-wing neo-populism and in the sanitarian.

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