SUS funding in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic
The Brazilian Unified Health System (SUS), since its creation in 1988, has a
history of insufficient resources to effectively guarantee universality and comprehensive
care. Its underfunding, derived from the lack of support from part of society and neoliberal
policies undertaken by various governments in the 1990s and 2000s, turned into effective
reduction in real terms of funding resources after the approval of the “expenditure ceiling”
in 2016, aggravating the structural system difficulty. The Covid-19 pandemic generated
a preeminent need to expand the service capacity of the public health system and, with
that, the resources for the SUS were expanded. However, this greater financial availability
was the result of extraordinary measures and was restricted to the years 2020 and 2021. The ordinary budget for health in those years and the 2022 LOA demonstrate that the
underfunding continues and that the pandemic did not change the lack of priority given to
healthcare within the federal budget.
JEL Classification: I18.
Keywords: Covid-19 pandemic underfunding withdrawal of SUS resources Brazil