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SUS financing and Covid-19: history, federative participation, and responses to the pandemic


  • Luciana Mendes Santos Servo Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada (Ipea) – Brasília (DF), Brasil.
  • Maria Angélica Borges dos Santos Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (Fiocruz) – Rio de Janeiro (RJ), Brasil.
  • Fabiola Sulpino Vieira Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada (Ipea) – Brasília (DF), Brasil.
  • Rodrigo Pucci de Sá e Benevides Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada (Ipea) – Brasília (DF), Brasil.



Healthcare Financing, Federalism, Health Services, Pandemics, Coronavirus


This essay discusses financial resources for Brazil’s Unified Health System (SUS) in a historical and future perspective, considering the health and economic challenges imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic. As always and more than ever, we need to discuss SUS financing. This is aggravated in intensity by the context of chronic economic recession that the country has been experiencing in 2015 and 2016, followed by  stagnation in the following years and accentuated in urgency by the recession in the second quarter of 2020 and that is expected to deepen in the coming years. The pandemic happens in a context of diminishing federal participation in SUS financing, little space for states to expand their sources of financing and several problems of coordination between federal entities. We argue that facing the pandemic necessarily involves an expansion of resources for financing SUS and it has a great dependence on the performance of the federal government. However, even with the urgency that the pandemic demanded, the new resources approved by the National Congress for public health system has been quite slow. We conclude that the prospects do not point to prioritizing the SUS and expanding its funding in the post-pandemic period.




Health Sciences