Are health care systems converging in developing nations? We use the case of health care financing in Latin America between 1995 and 2009 to assess the predictions of modernization theory, competing strands of globalization theory, and accounts of persistent cross-national differences. As predicted by modernization theory, we find convergence in overall health spending. The public share of health spending increased over this time period, with no convergence in the public-private mix. The findings indicate robust heterogeneity of national health care systems and suggest that globalization fosters human investment health policies rather than neoliberal, “race to the bottom” cutbacks in public health expenditures.

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