Recent studies suggest that governments in the majority of Latin American and Caribbean countries were able to expand social investments and introduce innovations in social protection policies in the last two decades with positive results in the actions’ coverage and impact. However, the restrictions imposed by the current fiscal crisis and the rise of governments more ideologically aligned with the neoliberal discourse in various countries in the region point to a new retreat of the state from the social area, thereby compromising recent advances. The article aims to discuss the changes, contradictions, and limits of recent social protection standards in Latin America and the Caribbean. The discussion includes three items: a description of the history of social protection in the region, seeking to identify its principal historical periods and characteristics (benefits, target public, and financing); the social protection models that have been implemented in the region; and the specific case of health. We argue that although countries have adopted different solutions in the field of social protection, the policies’ hybrid nature (with extensive private sector participation in the financing, supply, and management of services) and the prevalence of segmented models (with differential access according to individuals’ social status) have been predominant traits in social protection in Latin America and the Caribbean, thus limiting the possibilities for greater equity and social justice.
Viana, A. L. d’Avila, da Fonseca, A. M. M., & da Silva, H. P. (2017). Proteção social na América Latina e caribe: Mudanças, contradições e limites. Cadernos de Saude Publica, 33. https://doi.org/10.1590/0102-311X00216516