There has been a lot of excitement and some apprehension leading up to our trip to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Brazil is one of the most dangerous countries in the world with over 60,000 homicides per year. In fact, just a few days prior to our arrival, a candidate in the Country’s presidential election was stabbed and critically injured during a rally- luckily he is expected to survive.
Our goal during this trip is to explore the pros and cons of socialism and the impact it has had on the country, especially with an upcoming election. One area of socialism that is pertinent to Americans is universal health care, a heavily debated topic in the last presidential election and during Trump’s subsequent presidency.
We started our trip with a tour of the federally funded, flagship hospital Clementino Fraga Filho in Rio de Janeiro. What we found with the hospital was horrifying and certainly did not shed a positive light on federally funded public healthcare. At first glance, it is obvious that the hospital is in a severe state of disrepair. Simply moving between floors via elevator is a task as visitors and patients alike are faced with long lines. The individual wards are barren and desolate with basic equipment like wheelchairs and gurneys in sorry states. From the 12th floor of the hospital, we found sweeping views of the beautiful, mountainous scenery of Rio de Janeiro, a stark contrast to life within the hospital.
From missing floor and ceiling tiles to dark hallways and dripping pipes it’s hard to believe that people seek care here, but what choice do they have when private healthcare is too expensive for most citizens?