Lula Tells Obama How to Solve US’s Health Crisis: Go the Brazilian Way

Lula talks in Pernambuco "Next time I see Obama I'm going to say: "Make a SUS. It costs less, it has quality and it's universal."" This is the Brazilian president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva talking and he believes he can contribute to solve the decades-old health insurance problem that plagues the United States.

SUS stands for Sistema íšnico de Saúde (Universal Health System) and is the Brazilian National Health System, which in theory guarantees that every Brazilian is kept in good health and taken care when he or she falls ill.

Lula's comment was made in the northeastern state of Pernambuco where the Brazilian leader took part, this Tuesday, November 3, in the 9th Brazilian Congress of Collective Health.

It was a stopover for the president who is flying to London for some high-level encounters. In Pernambuco, Lula participated in a special session celebrating the 100 years of  Josué de Castro, a Brazilian scholar and diplomat who fought to end hunger in Brazil and the discovery of Chagas disease, an illness common in South America, which is spread by insects.

The president of the United States is a campaign to change the American health system, which leaves tens of millions without health insurance. "See how Obama is taking a beating. The conservatives don't want to change anything," observes Lula, adding:

"I know what is waiting, sitting on your butt on a hospital bench for three, four hours and then be informed that the doctor isn't there. Then, I know the VIP treatment that a President gets."

He described his own medical check up going from machine to machine: "I'm an expert at this. I feel like Charles Chaplin in that film Modern Times. There is no more contact, no presence of that comrade who asks: "Do you have a headache? Is your belly swollen? Does your head hurt?"

The SUS is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2010. The program is part of Brazil's 1988 Federal Constitution, which recognized that every Brazilian has the right to free access to health care. The service, however, would be regulated only two years later.

"Today it's very easy for us to support the SUS. But in 1988, when we approved the SUS into the Federal Constitution, it was hard to face the debate because we were starting to live the period in which the State wasn't good for anything, the State was useless and the State only got in the way of doing things," said Lula.

Things have changed a lot in two decades, the president pondered. "Now, with this economic crisis, the State has become important, because the States were the ones that saved the world's wealthier countries from the economic crisis."

In his speech, Lula also called for a faster pace in the works of a blood and hemoderivates factory being built in Pernambuco since 2005. He wanted to know from Health Minister José Gomes Temporão why the facility is not ready yet:

"You need to see who is looking after this and reprimand him. You keep putting the money out there and then things don't happen. We need to know why this had such a long delay."

The president will stay in Britain till Friday. Among the president's commitments in England there are a meeting with Queen Elizabeth II and another one with prime minister Gordon Brown. Lula will also participate in a seminar promoted by the Financial Times about the Brazilian economy and the world economic crisis.

The Brazilian leader will be awarded the Chatham House prize from London's Institute of International Affairs. The annual award is given to the statesperson who made the most important contribution to  improve international relations in the previous year.  Lula is being recognized for his work in stabilizing and integrating Latin America as well as for his performance in solving Brazil's regional crises.


  • Show Comments (10)

  • Tordilho Negro

    Lula is high on crack!
    I’m Brazilian and I just feel embarassed because of this twerp at each day …..I’d be rich if I put together all his quotes in a thick book………he could tell Obama how to turn a doctor into a butcher…….all right, US public health system may not been superb, but why doesn’t he take a look at several hospitals which usually remind us of those harsh slaughterhouses…… here is getting worse day by day and this brainless and bigoted type just staining the country’s image more and more.

  • naardski

    Totally Clueless
    Maybe we should adopt Brazil’s successful education system too! Lula is definitely clueless.

    (An American living in Rio.)

  • Elvis Presley

    Fantasy world
    So much corruption, no infrastucture on health, or anything thinking about it. just party party party in Brazil. No worrys lets have another party while the high earners pay > excesive taxes and have private health and education- why should the government spend out anything on services while the natives will pay? Tell me who is to blame? You know you are apparently rising up to the 21st century oh please do not bypass the 19th and 20th1

  • João da Silva

    Llyod Cata
    Howdy Dr.Cata. Long time no conspiracy. 🙁 😥 HowÀ‚´s the “Afghan Campaign” going on ? 8) 😉

  • Lloyd Cata

    After The Corruption Of “Fomme Zero”…
    [b]”You need to see who is looking after this and reprimand him. You keep putting the money out there and then things don’t happen. We need to know why this had such a long delay.”[/b]

    … Does he really make this statement with a straight face?

  • Johnny Rotten

    Brazil Public Healthcare is crap!
    Is Lulu high on crack?? Nobody who can afford private healthcare goes public in Brazil. Only the wretched poor go to those joke hospitals, and are treated as animals.

    What a joke. US healthcare is the best in the world!
    We don’t need yr greasy advice Lulu!

  • Perseus

    For Zico: bad private hospital??? Bad luck…
    I donÀ‚´t know Zico, which private hospital did you go to? Private hospitals in my city are very efficient. SUS has problems – we all know, but can you do transplants in USA for free, in a public health system? In Brazil they do, it works well and as many other treatment diseases, for free. About LulaÀ‚´s jokes, yes he is funny! And Brazil also is. I am selliing lots of products to the booming civil construction sector and I can tell you man, this is fun!!! If only a small part of Brazil is getting out of misery and the market is so hot, I just canÀ‚´t wait to see the rest of the poor brazilians improving their lifes, I will sell 50 times more. JUST LOVE BRAZIL. Maybe Lula is right…

  • Zico

    Another Lula comedy. I am an American. Three years ago I had kidney stones while I was living in Texas. I had insurance. I went to the hospital for treatment. I sat in the waiting room for about an hour, waiting for the Mexican immigrants (probably not insured) to have their baby’s running nose checked. Then I got my turn. Within an hour I was xray’d, texted, and diagnosed, and receiving treatment in my private room. The Mexican baby ahead of me got his nose wiped and I paid his bill through my premiums.

    Here in Brazil, I sprained my anckle, and thought it was broken. I went to a private hospital (I have insurance here) and waited in the lobby for over 2 hours before giving up and going home.

    What Brazil does Lula live in?



    IF the public SUS is so wonderful. Why are there so many private hospitals?
    The small Fishing Village of Marica, RJ has a public hospital and a private one.
    Brazil is already like AMERICA, Rich people use private hospitals, and the poor use Inner-city Hospitals.
    Or houses in Favelas with stolen medical supplies.

  • Bo

    [quote]SUS stands for Sistema Àƒšnico de SaÀƒºde (Universal Health System) and is the Brazilian National Health System, which in theory guarantees that every Brazilian is kept in good health and taken care when he or she falls ill.[/quote]

    The key word in that statement is “THEORY”. God forbid the healthcare system in the U.S. as well as quality of care changes to resemble Brazil’s. The guys in Permanbuco for god’s sake….someone take him to one of the public hospitals there for a surprise check-up! 😮

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