The health insurance market in Argentina has recently restructured to a largely privately funded system. While Argentina was more progressive than other Latin American countries, it still lagged behind that of other, more developed countries. As a result, Argentina faces the same problems that less developed countries face, and also the new problems that developed countries face.
In 1998, the United States spent $4,403 per capita on health care, while Argentina led all Latin American countries by spending $675 per capita (Franko, 1999). These figures give an idea to the state of health in Latin America. One of the main problems in funding health care is the question of which kind of health care to fund, preventative or curative. Preventative health care can do more to improve the standard of living in less developed countries. The reason is that many of these people are limited by economic factors, and inaccessibility to health care. As these people seek care, their advantages are greater. These people basically have a higher marginal return to health care. They see more results for less money per unit of health care than another person would from chemotherapy, for example. Curative measures are generally more costly, and give relatively less benefits than preventative care does. Patients receiving curative care generally will have lower marginal returns to health care than preventative patients. .
The next obstacle in health care is to determine whether to finance it through public or private means. In the United States, our system is largely private, as employees are insured through the workplace. Public programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, cover those without private insurance. Argentina as adopted a system of public and private insurance that is very similar. Once these means of payment are adopted, another problem presents itself.
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