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Should Brazil unify its public and private health systems?

The emergency created by the Covid-19 pandemic has led to calls for Brazil's public health system to commandeer intensive care beds in private hospitals

Should Brazil unify its public and private healthcare systems?
Hospital in Pará. Photo: Secom/PA

On April 22, the Brazilian Health Council recommended that federal, state, and municipal governments step up to coordinate the allocation of privately-held resources — including hospital beds — during the Covid-19 pandemic. The council voiced concern that, if the public healthcare system collapses, the unequal access to private intensive care beds “will be an obstacle to the reduction of the lethality rate during the pandemic,” and people that could be saved will end up dying.

Linked to the Health Ministry, the council includes representatives from the government, civil society organizations, and healthcare workers. It is one of the most...

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