Entitled to Health? Social Protection in Chile's Plan AUGE


  • Charles Dannreuther,

    1. lectures at the School of Politics and International Studies in the University of Leeds, UK (e-mail: ipicd@leeds.ac.uk). His research compares state and citizen relations through the comparative and historical analysis of small business policy. For the last two years he has managed projects for British Embassies in Ankara and Sarajevo.
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  • Jasmine Gideon

    1. is a lecturer in Development Studies at Birkbeck College, London. She can be reached at London International Development Centre, 36 Gordon Sq, London WC1H 0PD, UK (e-mail: j.gideon@bbk.ac.uk). Her recent publications include ‘Informalisation of Labour Markets and Access to Health in Chile: A Gendered Analysis’ (Global Social Policy, 2007) and ‘Accessing Economic and Social Rights under Neo-liberalism: Gender and Rights in Chile’ (Third World Quarterly, 2006).
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  • We would like to thank Armando Barrientos and the two anonymous referees for their helpful comments on this paper.


In theory everyone has the right to health. However, in reality many low income households are unable to fully access health services and therefore cannot fully claim their rights. Recently, in an attempt to overcome these limitations, health reforms in Chile under the Plan AUGE have proposed a series of legal entitlements to health care that are available to everyone regardless of income level. While this is an important starting point in ensuring more universal access to health, the process has raised a number of important issues, particularly on how these entitlements have been defined and how far they will be able to transform (gender) inequalities within the health system. Looking at this from a gender perspective enables us to see that despite the shift from a health care system based on redistributive rights towards one based on the right of recognition, certain sectors of the population remain excluded. Decision-making processes have remained technocratic, and women's groups have been marginalized from the debate around the reform. Moreover, health policy makers continue to ignore the role of the unpaid care economy in health care provision. The current reform has served to reinforce the gender roles around health care.