does mexico have universal health care

Ten years ago, half of Mexico’s population lacked health insurance. Since then, Congress passed legislation guaranteeing access to care, creating Seguro Popular as an insurance program administered by the government.

Over the last decade, this scheme has successfully enrolled thousands of Mexicans. It marks an important step forward on Mexico’s pioneering journey of healthcare reform while simultaneously underscoring its challenges.

Seguro Popular is a public healthcare system funded by employer payroll taxes and managed on a three-party basis. Private sector workers enroll with the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS), while state employees are covered by the Instituto de Seguridad y Servicios para Todos, or ISSSTE. Both provide basic packages of benefits including health insurance, free hospitalization and essential medicines; beneficiaries also get annual eye exams, dental care visits and vaccinations.

However, this system has serious shortcomings: neither the federal nor local governments directly oversee who enrolls and how their funds are spent by local governments; thus creating incentives for states to sign up as many people as possible regardless of whether they can actually receive care that was promised them.

Mexico’s national healthcare system was severely stressed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Out-of-pocket spending on medicine increased by over 40% for some of Mexico’s poorest states like Chiapas and Guerrero compared to just over 5% increase for its wealthiest decile. Scarcity of publically provided medication was primary reason behind such surges; other contributing factors may have included low access to doctor appointments, inadequate diagnostic services and shortages in certain medications driving individual spending up.

As it is evident that even with an entirely functional national health system and vast enrollment in public healthcare plans, millions of Mexicans still cannot receive adequate medical attention and services. Therefore, the government should take measures to increase quality, availability, and opportuneness of healthcare in Mexico.

This involves making sure doctors are adequately trained, supported by enough support staff, and have adequate treatment resources at their fingertips to deliver timely, effective treatment to their patients. Incorporating a holistic approach to health is key for increasing outcomes while decreasing morbidity and mortality rates in Mexico.

Effective and equitable public healthcare can serve as an equalizer in an unequal country like Mexico where the wealthiest 1% control 40% of wealth. Healthcare access has made great strides since 2010, expanding access for more citizens while simultaneously becoming truly universal coverage – this will be essential in creating global health equity for Mexico’s people.