Secret Budget Funds SUS Fraud

Secret Budget Funds SUS Fraud

youA report by Breno Pires, published in this July issue of piauí under the title unlimited ride, reveals that millions of reais from the secret budget controlled by Centrão in the National Congress are directed to the town halls that falsify the figures in the field of health. Most of the town halls are in Maranhão, although the state bench does not have significant political weight in the Chamber and the Senate – which suggests that the regime has a central coordination that guides and directs the public funds.

Occupying eight pages, the report presents examples of exorbitant increases. Bom Lugar, who doesn’t even have a hospital, claims to have increased his health services by 1,300% year-on-year. The municipality of Governador Luiz Rocha has informed SUS that its services have increased by 12,500%. In Luís Domingues, the jump was around 39,000%.

In Igarapé Grande, the consultations were so inflated that they reached an average of 34 consultations per inhabitant, a figure which even exceeds the world record, established by South Korea, where the annual average is 17 consultations per inhabitant. Santa Quitéria do Maranhão recorded more tests to detect HIV infection than the city of São Paulo. Quarries says he has had so many tooth extractions that he gives an average of nineteen teeth extracted per capita. It is the most toothless city in Brazil.

Between 2019 and 2021, the period in which the secret budget was born and developed under the blessing of the Jair Bolsonaro government, the program became an epidemic: 66 towns in Maranhão recorded an increase of 500% or more in their health services from one year to the next. . Thirty cities have increased by more than 1,000%. “Such an increase, ten to twenty times in one year, is something I have never seen,” marvels Maria Angélica Borges dos Santos, professor at the National School of Public Health of Fiocruz.

Overcharging for numbers raises the ceiling on health funds that deputies and senators can send to municipalities. Thus, the parliamentarians, basing themselves on the unaffordable ceilings, send substantial amendments to the town halls. São Raimundo das Mangabeiras, which received 213,600 reais per year, began to receive 4 million reais. São Bernardo, on the border with Piauí, went from 720,000 to 4.2 million reais per year. Miranda do Norte went from 1.1 million to 10 million reais. Bacabal, with 105,000 inhabitants, received more money than the Federal District, whose population exceeds 3 million. Bela Vista received 5.5 million reais. This is more than the health services of eleven state capitals have received, including Florianópolis, Natal, Vitória, Belém and Manaus.

unlimited ride shows that with the fat amendments, the average budget per inhabitant has exploded. While the national average is 20 reais per inhabitant, the town halls of Maranhão have taken a leap forward. The national gold medal belongs to Igarapé Grande: 590 reais. No other municipality in Brazil, considered capitals and inland cities, has made so much money per capita. This disparity distorts the national structure of the SUS, whose demographic and epidemiological criteria for the distribution of funds are ignored. Serrano do Maranhão, for example, received a modest amount of 10,800 reais according to the technical evaluation of the SUS, but parliamentarians sent 2.8 million reais to the city. This is 26,000% more than the SUS technical budget.

The secret budget program with phantom consultations is a direct link between the parliamentarians of Brasilia and the town halls of Maranhão. The suspicion, under investigation by the federal police, is that parliamentarians receive bribes in exchange for amendments in favor of the town halls. A portion of the funds — which in some cases can be as much as 30% of the amendment — becomes what corruption brokers active in Congress call a “return.” The “return” is the amount of money the city government returns to the author of the amendment that has benefited the municipality. This is a bribe paid by the health insurance funds. “Nobody speaks because we need to have concrete evidence, but the ‘return’ is the current voice in Congress,” says a deputy who has already held high office in the hemicycle. Sometimes the “return” is part of the agreement at the beginning of the drafting of the amendment. Others, the charge comes without notice, on the basis of extortion. Federal Deputy Josimar Maranhãozinho (PL-MA) is under investigation by the PF for using armed groups to extort mayors.

Mayor Arthur Lira, who controls 11 billion reais of the secret budget this year, declined to comment on the issue. Senate President Rodrigo Pacheco, who has 5.5 billion reais under his command, sent a note to piauí saying that the volumes destined for the municipalities of Maranhão follow “criteria defined by the benches”. The two, Lira and Pacheco, were in Maranhão this year, in public meetings with the mayors during which they discussed health resources. The Ministry of Health, requested by the piauíadmitted having found irregularities in “certain municipalities” and indicated that he would open an audit “in the coming days”.

So far, counting the remittances made until the end of June, within the deadline established by electoral law, the municipalities of Maranhão have received 918 million reais for health through the secret budget. THE piauí researched all state legislators to find out how much each was sending to their area and the criteria set by the judiciary. Most declined to comment. Those who spoke took responsibility for amendments totaling 52 million. It remains to explain 866 million reais.

Read the full report here.


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