Family & Relationship

Does Mexico Have Universal Health Care?

does mexico have universal health care

Mexico boasts an effective healthcare system, providing affordable care to most Mexican citizens. Unfortunately, funding remains a significant hurdle despite efforts by the current administration to boost healthcare spending; even so, this has not been sufficient to address inequities within healthcare. Moreover, medical professional shortages remain an acute problem with only 2.85 physicians and nurses per 100,000 citizens – which falls far short of OECD recommendations.

As a result, more people than ever before turn to private hospitals for their healthcare needs, increasing costs. Furthermore, healthcare providers are underpaid which has fuelled corruption within the sector as many patients receive subpar care.

Mexico has taken steps to enhance health outcomes and decrease inequality in access to quality healthcare, including creating two public healthcare initiatives – Instituto Mexicano de Seguro Social (IMSS) and Universal Catalogue of Health Services (CAUSES) – that provide coverage for most of its population while working to reduce any gaps or inequities that exist between care.

Although IMSS and CAUSES provide adequate health care coverage to Mexico’s population, they have yet to address all aspects of its healthcare gap. The Mexican government hopes to close this chasm by expanding IMSS into an effective comprehensive health insurance program similar to Medicare in the US – however this requires significant resources as effective public healthcare is a necessity in such an unequal nation as Mexico, where 40% of wealth is held by just 1% of its citizens.

Julio Frenk and Felicia Knaul, Director of the Harvard Global Equity Initiative, recently co-authored an article for The Lancet that details the challenges and opportunities involved with healthcare reform in Mexico. It builds upon prior work they coauthored with other leading international scholars that discovered Seguro Popular could reduce breast cancer treatment gaps as well as other conditions.

But the current administration’s rollback of its program, combined with COVID-19 pandemic, has worsened Mexico’s healthcare deficit further. For true improvements in Mexico healthcare system to occur, we will require organized medicinal purchase plans, higher salaries for medical professionals, enhanced security for workers and vulnerable populations, as well as better infrastructure – which may prove challenging in a political environment where reforms may easily be reversed even after being successful in terms of benefits accrued to vulnerable groups and workers. Read the entire article here.