Ministry of Health
One of the most important ministers stepping down in advance of elections is Alexandre Padilha who will have to leave office by April 2014 to run for governor of São Paulo. Brazilian legislation requires office holders to resign 6 months before an election in which they will be a candidate. This means that Dilma will name a new Health Minister before elections and several names have already been discussed. Though Padilha would like stay in the post until the final deadline to have time to continue promoting programs such as the Mais Médicos and Farmácia Popular, it is possible that he will resign around the end of January when president Dilma Rousseff will carry out a broader ministerial reform.
The Ministry of Health is politically important for several reasons. It touches the lives of nearly every Brazilian covered by the unified health system (SUS), has the second largest budget of any ministry, and the state’s responsibility to provide health care to the population is a founding tenet of Brazilian democracy. These factors make it a high profile posting coveted by the PT and its coalition parties alike. Due to disputes involving PT and PMDB over the support of candidates in key states such as Rio de Janeiro, the PT may be willing to concede the Ministry of Health to the PMDB.
Several names have surfaced to replace Padilha through the end of Dilma’s mandate. Here we will look at what we consider to be the top 4 and offer an initial assessment on who we feel is most likely to come away with the corner office.
1) Dirceu Barbano, President-Director, ANVISA – A trained pharmacist who has built an academic and public health career in the interior of the state of São Paulo and has deep contacts within the Worker’s Party. In addition, he has managed align ANVISA with predominant government policies. His mandate as president of ANVISA ends in October 2014.
2) Rogério Carvalho, Representative (PT) – A physician with experience in both municipal...