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Political Regimes and Healthcare Reform in Latin America

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National Institutes of Health

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  1. One of the strongest agents directing the progress and direction of a health system is the internal nature of a country's government
  2. Health regimes, produced by a particular political system, are also subject to the social variables of a state
  3. The external environment of a state's political regime is a crucial element in a health system's movement from theory to reality
  4. Beyond the intricacies of specific regimes, the process of reform in general exerts a significant impact on health provisioning
  5. In Latin America, the interests of the state are the most fundamental determinates of a particular health system's direction, dictating whether the regime will move forwards or backwards in areas of health improvement.

Latin American states have and continue to experience a diverse spectrum of political regimes. These shifts in political organization resonate throughout all aspects of a country's social and economic profile, with health status and care being no exception. Health systems develop through the interplay between political processes (both historical and ongoing), socioeconomic atmosphere and cultural influences. Therefore, the prevailing political regime cannot sufficiently categorize a country's subsequent healthcare system by default, as there are multidimensional variables involved. The reality of a healthcare regime is a product of the political nuances specific to each country.

[...] The characteristics and interplay of social classes in response to health regimes serve as another filtering process for how successfully health regimes will be executed or received. The external environment of a state's political regime is a crucial element in a health system's movement from theory to reality. Health systems exist in two realms, first within the internal political state, but also externally, where they are subject to the social and economic conditions of the population. Economic factors in particular are extremely influential yet often indirect determinants of a successful health system. [...]

[...] Yet the intricacies of social, political, and economic networks are what actually facilitate changes in the healthcare system. Although the overarching motives of a state's regime create the health reform climate, it is the internal stability and external characteristics of a regime that allow for its development. Latin American healthcare systems are subject to the fickleness of their political regimes, but the delicate interdependencies present in their formation and maturation make them realistic reflections of the true efficacy of the state. [...]

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