The polarized federalism in the health system in Brazil

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This article proposes a historical-institutionalist perspective to explain the political and institutional dynamics that polarized the intergovernmental relations in health policy in the 1990s. In this perspective, the history of intergovernmental relations is understood as the result of a long chain of decisions made in particular political contexts of the three governments in the 90s: Presidents Fernando Collor, Itamar Franco and Fernando Henrique Cardoso. During this period, the relations between the political actors of the Brazilian Health Unified System (SUS) and the trends of the national federative context established the direction of the decentralization strategy at each stage. The intensity of institutionalization also depended on the choices of these governments regarding the direction of the national policy and the federative coordination structure of the Ministry of Health, the stability and volume of financing, and the institutional capacities of states and municipalities to take on new responsibilities. © 2017, Fundacao Getulio Vargas. All rights reserved.