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[Correspondence] Austerity threatens universal health coverage in Brazil

Michael Temer, Brazil’s new interim president from the centre-right Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), has unveiled an agenda of austerity measures to stimulate economic growth. In the manifesto Uma Ponte Para Futuro (October, 2015), he announced plans to reduce public spending, including the education and health-care sector. The minimum budget guaranteed by the constitution (3·8% of gross domestic product at present) would be abolished. The new Health Minister, Ricardo Barros, has revealed plans to end the monitoring of private health-care quality by the National Supplementary Health Agency (Agência Nacional de Saúde Suplementar), while encouraging Brazilian citizens to seek private health care instead of relying on the Brazilian National Unified Health System (Sistema Único de Saúde [SUS]).