Foto: Marcello Casal JR/Agência Brasil

Article published in Jornal GGN

by Bruno Moretti (*), Carlos Ocké (**), Erika Aragão (***), Francisco Funcia (****) and Rodrigo Benevides (*****)

In addition to adopting the measures recommended by the World Health Organization, changing the economic policy and strengthening the SUS are the safest alternatives to protect the Brazilian population against the coranavirus.

This crisis will certainly be greater than the  crash  of 1929. Like other countries, the government needs to sustain demand and guarantee the income of the population as a whole, as well as the supply of food, medicines and essential products, maintaining the chains of production and distribution in operation and coordinating the financial system, based on the planning between State and society.

In the context of increasing poverty and inequality in Brazilian society, the federal government must immediately revoke the spending ceiling and the rule established for the federal health floor (Constitutional Amendment 95/2016) to face the recession and the coronavirus.

At this historic moment, public investments and social spending must be evaluated for their effectiveness, that is, for their multiplier effect on the production chain and their impact on the social well-being of the population and not only on the fiscal effects produced on public accounts: the cost of a fiscal recession in the medium and long term will be much higher if short-term fiscal targets are prioritized.

Thus, bearing in mind the open spaces with the Public Disaster Decree, in order to curb the exponential phase and decrease the lethality rate of the disease, we support the following measures on an emergency basis:

(i) immediate application of additional resources in SUS, [1]  that could be financed through the sale of government bonds, issuing currency and / or using part of the financial surplus of the National Treasury Single Account, creating a public fund in the amount minimum of R $ 22.5 billion (loss verified in the years of 2018, 2019 and 2020 due to the change of the federal SUS floor rule by the Constitutional Amendment 95/2016). It is also essential to suspend the golden rule, allowing the issuance of debt to finance SUS spending and other public policies to face the pandemic;

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(*) Bruno Moretti (Economist and Technical Advisor to the Federal Senate), (**) Carlos Ocké (Researcher at IPEA), (***) Érika Aragão (Professor at the Collective Health Institute at UFBA and President of the Brazilian Association of Economics da Saúde – ABrES), (****) Francisco R. Funcia (Professor at USCS and Technical Consultant at the National Health Council – CNS), (*****) Rodrigo Benevides (Economist and Master in Public Health by the Institute of Social Medicine at UERJ).