Selected country experiences
Although Argentina has a fairly well developed health system, in 1997 comparable countries such as Chile, Costa Rica or Uruguay, had a higher life expectancy and lower infant mortality rates despite spending less on health per capita. The Argentine economic crisis in 1989, the beginning of the economic transformation in 1991 and increasing unemployment through the 1990s had an impact on the health care financing system, household wealth and probably on health care access.
At the same time, Argentina went through a health care reform in the 1990s. This reform put special emphasis on the decentralization of the tax-funded health sector and the restructuring of the social health insurance subsystem. The following paper explores that specific period of institutional changes in the health sector and its impact on health service utilization and catastrophic out-of-pocket payments using household survey data from 1997.