Throughout the 1990s, all Latin American countries but Cuba implemented health care sector reforms based on a neoliberal paradigm that redefined health care less as a social right and more as a market commodity. These reforms were couched in the broader structural adjustment of Latin American welfare states as prescribed by international financial institutions since the mid-1980s. However, since 2003, Venezuela has been developing an alternative to this neoliberal trend through its health care reform program, Misión Barrio Adentro (Inside the Neighborhood). In this article, the authors review the main features of the Venezuelan health care reform, analyzing, within their broader sociopolitical and economic contexts, previous neoliberal health care reforms that mainly benefited transnational capital and domestic Latin American elites. They explain the emergence of the new health care program, Misión Barrio Adentro, examining its historical, social, and political underpinnings and the central role played by popular resistance to neoliberalism. This program not only provides a compelling model of health care reform for other low- to middle-income countries but also offers policy lessons to wealthy countries.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy