Brazil’s president had signed the order on Tuesday. Faced with harsh criticism, even in his environment, he reversed the decision.
The Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, repealed on Wednesday a decree that he had issued hours before and that was criticized even on its own political base, as it could open the doors to the privatization of public health.
Bolsonaro himself reported on the revocation of the decree through his social networks, in which he referred to the “false privatization of SUS”, acronym for the Unified Health System, which encompasses the entire public health network of the country.
The decree, signed by the far-right president on Tuesday at the last minute, authorized the opening of talks between the government and the private sector with a view to defining “business models” for the “construction, modernization and operation” of Basic Units of Salud (UBS), as dispensaries are known.
Both in Parliament, including the support base for Bolsonaro, and in medical associations, the decree caused concern and alarm It was understood as a way to privatize basic care, which was even worse received when Brazil continues to be the second country in the world most affected by the coronavirus, with 158,000 deaths and 5.4 million cases.
In the message in which he reported on the repeal of the decree, the leader of the Brazilian extreme right and firm promoter of a minimal state model and privatizations he implied that the government’s intentions were misinterpreted and clarified what he called the “false privatization” of healthcare.
“We currently have more than 4,000 Basic Health Units (UBS) and 168 Unfinished Early Care Units (UPA),” said the head of state, adding that “there is a lack of financial resources for the completion of these works, the acquisition of equipment hiring staff “.
According to Bolsonaro, “the spirit of Decree 10,530, already revoked, pointed to the completion of these works and to allow users to go to the private network, with expenses paid by the State.”
SUS was created by the assembly that drafted the Constitution of 1988, which enshrined universal and free health care as a right, and is considered a model of public health, especially due to the vastness of its system, which even with very serious budgetary problems serves more than 200 million people.
The reactions against the decree issued by Bolsonaro, which was also signed by the Minister of Economy, Paulo Guedes, a liberal aligned with the economic ideology of the Chicago School, even started from some organizations of the government structure itself.
Fernando Pigatto, president of the National Health Council, which depends on the Ministry of Health, was one of the first to criticize the decree and declared that “the SUS must be strengthened against any type of privatization” which, in his opinion, would mean a “withdrawal of rights” already acquired by Brazilian society.