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Gaceta Sanitaria

Print version ISSN 0213-9111


JARAMILLO, I.. Evaluation of health system decentralization and reform of the Social Security system in Colombia. Gac Sanit [online]. 2002, vol.16, n.1, pp.48-53. ISSN 0213-9111.

The aim of this study is to present the results of the reforms in the health sector that have taken place in Colombia since 1990. These reforms replaced the previous national health system and the so-called Bismarkian social security system. The new system has three basic characteristics: a) the public subsidies are decentralized in the municipalities and territorial departments; b) the public hospitals have been converted into state social enterprises, which has led them towards a management model, and c) the health and social security system monopoly has been abolished and a system of health subsidies has been created for the poorest citizens.  This article systematically collects secondary information extracted from the most important studies evaluating the health sector reforms in Colombia. The present author participated in some of these studies.  The reforms have increased financial resources, which, has led to an increase in public system staff and their salaries. The availability of hospitals' budgetary resources has increased and the social security system has become wider, including 20% of the poorest population who have benefited from subsidies on demand.  Ease of access and equity in the health system have significantly improved. However, indicators of public health have fallen and health professionals are critical of a system based on mediation, which increases transaction costs.

Keywords : Health reforms; Health reform models.

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