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Spring 2023 Reading Group

Health Rights in Latin America: Defending Dignity or Judicializing Politics?

Prerequisite: None

Exam Type: No Exam

Against backdrops of extreme social inequality in Latin America, with poor responsiveness from executive and legislative branches of government, as well as chronic regulatory failures within health systems, people frequently take claims for health care and health-related issues to courts. Across Latin America, courts enforce thousands of individual entitlements to health care every year (through easily accessible protection writs); they also regulate private providers and insurers, and in Colombia and Argentina, respectively, high courts have ordered and overseen structural health system reform as well as in environmental clean-up affecting health. Judicialization of health-related rights is deeply contested across the region: courts have been criticized for interfering with the political organs of government, bankrupting health systems, and exacerbating inequities in health. Others argue that courts have enhanced accountability within health systems, and that experimentalist remedies have catalyzed political organs of government to take action. Drawing on case studies from Brazil, Argentina and Colombia, the reading group will discuss the lessons and challenges of judicial enforcement of the right to health in Latin America.

Note: This reading group will meet on the following dates: TBD.