OPC 5 Public Policy Evaluation 5 CHARACTERISTICS OF THE ARGENTINE HEALTH CARE SYSTEM

CHARACTERISTICS OF THE ARGENTINE HEALTH CARE SYSTEM

December 06, 2021

In Argentina, the great differences in the provision of health care between jurisdictions, labor informality and a mixed system, conditioned by regulations that are not always effective for their purpose, hinder the existence of equitable and egalitarian access to health care.

  • Public health care is used by 36% of the population, about 16 million people, who have no other type of coverage and with large differences in the benefits they receive in each province. Sixty-one percent of the population is covered by the Social Security/Union-run system and 13.6% is covered by the private system (10.4% of the population has more than one type of coverage).
  • Sixty-three percent of registered health facilities are private and 97% of them are business establishments. The National Government plays a subsidiary role in health care, which is evidenced, among other things, by the fact that 95.7% of public hospitals are provincial or municipal.
  • There are large differences between jurisdictions in the number and types of facilities. In the province that has the most, the number of health care centers is four times higher than in the province that has the fewest.
  • The concentration of beneficiaries among the different Social Security/Union-run health insurances is remarkably uneven: the one belonging to the trade union of employees of commerce has 1,692,600 members, whereas others have less than 500.
  • The budget of PAMI (Comprehensive Medical Attention Program, managed by the National Government) represents 1.1% of the Gross Domestic Product.
  • The difference in coverage of the private subsystem is the most significant: between the province with the highest coverage and the one with the lowest coverage (with respect to their total population) there is a difference of 21.2 times.
  • In the private subsystem there is also a strong concentration: OSDE (as a prepaid health insurance company), Swiss Medical, Galeno, Omint, Medicus and Paramedic account for 80% of the total.
  • The complementary policies of free choice of Social Security/Union-run health insurance and transfer of contributions to the private subsector increase the differences between services provided by the different Social Security/Union-run health insurances and affect their funding.
  • In most Social Security/Union-run health insurances and prepaid private health insurances the number of male members is greater than the number of female members, mirroring the reality of the labor market.
  • In general terms, infant mortality is higher in the provinces of northern Argentina than in the rest of the country.
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