I learned so much on the sixth day here in Argentina. We started the day with a lecture from Dr.Guillermo Williams regarding the Ministry of Health in Argentina. It was interesting to hear about the role of the Ministry of Health because there is no direct equivalent in the United States. Following lunch, we listened to another lecture from Graciela Abraca regarding the history and culture of the country. I learned so much during this lecture about the highs and lows of this beautiful country. Lastly, we visited an immigration museum in the heart of the city. I was unware of the huge role that Argentina played in welcoming immigrants during the mid-twentieth century. Many immigrants chose to come to Buenos Aires as a cheaper alternative to Ellis Island.
After listening to the lecture regarding the Ministry of Health and its role in the country, we decided to take a deeper dive into the general makeup of the government here. The government of Argentina is set up as a federal system. This means that the country functions as a group of states that each have individualized governments. These states come together to form one nation. This concept is one that we also have in the United States, but the two countries have different degrees of federalism. The Argentine government considered to be more federal than the US because the national government has very little power. The provinces have most of the power. The structure of the government is likely the result of the geographic diversity of the nation.
In general, the federal system allows for the complexity of such large nation to be broken down into more manageable parts. Each province is able to focus on which issues matter most to them, and they are able to make changes to their policies based on the unique attributes of their province. Additionally, citizens feel more like they are being heard. The federal system has several downsides though. The differences of policy between the provinces could be very large, causing some locations to be more desirable than others. The policies may also make it difficult for certain economic transactions to occur. For example, if the standards for a product a different in two provinces, the product may not be able easily sold across the border.
In the case of healthcare, there are several advantages and disadvantages to the federal system. The system allows for more individualistic policies in each province. In this way, provinces are able to focus on healthcare policies that would be most relevant for their population. For example, if yellow fever has become an epidemic in one province, the local government may require that all residents get immunized. This policy would allow for only those that truly need the vaccine to be required to do so. On the other hand, the decentralized system could lead to greater fragmentation of the provinces. If each province has a different licensing exam for each medical professional, the workforce will not be able to move around very easily. This could allow for the demand and supply of medical professionals to be out of balance. Additionally, the provinces may differ with quality of care for public health depending on discrepancies of income. The provinces with lower GDP per capita will have less tax revenue generated, leading to a smaller healthcare budget. The smaller amount of revenue may lead to a lower quality of public healthcare in these provinces thus strengthening the divide between the rich and the poor. When deciding which form of government to take on, the country must weigh the pros and cons of a more decentralized form.
I am looking forward to exploring the city of Palermo tomorrow! The weather is supposed to be beautiful, and I am excited to see more of this wonderful city!