Universal health coverage in Latin America?


  • Asa Cristina Laurell Escuela Nacional de Antropología e Historia


This Medicina Social/Social Medicine issue includes, among others, two articles critical of so-called Universal Health Coverage (UHC), one by Mishra and Seshadri and another by Waitzkin. The debate surrounding UHC has been around for a while in Latin America, where progressive governments have worked towards guaranteeing the universal right to health through a single, free, public health system, whilst neoliberal governments have implemented policies based on public-private insurance schemes and competition between public and private health service providers. The debate therefore swings between two different and opposing perspectives based on different views of the world and society where the competition between public and private insurance forms part of the neoliberal doctrine and the single, free, public health system is linked to the welfare state. The doctrinal and ideological nature of the neoliberal approach is demonstrated by the fact that it is modeled on the most expensive and inefficient health system in the world: that of the US. ...

Author Biography

Asa Cristina Laurell, Escuela Nacional de Antropología e Historia

MD, University of Lund, Sweden; MSc Public Health, University of California at Berkeley, USA, cum laude PhD, Sociology, National Autonomous University of Mexico de. Professor Masters in Social Medicine, Metropolitan Autonomous University, Campus Xochimilco, 1975-2000; Minister of Health, Federal District Government, 2000-2006; Minister of Health, Legitimate Government of Mexico, 2006-2012.Researcher and consultant, 2013 to date. Well known and active researcher and promoter of Social Medicine; founder of the Latin American Association of Social Medicine.