Economic policy and public health: fiscal balance and population wellbeing

ABSTRACT Many studies have observed the effects of economic crises and austerity policies on high income countries. However, few and very recent ones start to cover the effects on low and medium income countries. In this perspective, we revise the recent studies focusing on the immediate effects on public health, specially on the most vulnerable population. We preferred to consider the joint effects of the economic crises and austerity for understanding that the funding deficits of social policies and their implications on coverage and quality of service provision are interlinked. Recent publications indicate the decline of basic public health indicators, suggesting that the reduction of investments can already be felt on policies for health promotion, prevention and care. The currently economic debate falsely presents austerity measures as the single alternative for promoting fiscal responsibility. Brazil needs to change its development route not only to fight the effects of the economic crises but also to recover the way for improvement on socioeconomic inclusion and public health.