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Does Mexico Have Universal Health Care?

Many people inquire, “does mexico have universal health care?” Unfortunately, no. However, Mexico does boast an advanced and efficient public healthcare system which offers free or subsidized coverage to most of its citizens. Effective public healthcare also acts as a powerful equalizer among citizens by guaranteeing access to basic services like medical care that ensures nobody falls through the cracks economically.

The state-run Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social (IMSS), one of the prime benefits of living in Mexico and mandatory for all employed expats in Mexico. Funded through payroll taxes paid by both employees and employers as well as government contributions, IMSS provides comprehensive coverage such as hospital stays and medication.

However, it should be remembered that even though many key healthcare indicators have steadily improved since Seguro Popular was implemented, these improvements are not due to universal health coverage but rather specific changes in government policies or the introduction of new medications such as trastuzumab for breast cancer treatment.

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO), Mexico’s current president, has made it his goal to transform Mexico’s healthcare system and bring about universal coverage as soon as possible. AMLO came into power by ousting two legacy parties that had long dominated power – PRI and PAN respectively – both championing neoliberal ideologies with little regard for ordinary Mexicans’ needs.

AMLO’s administration created SABI, or the Institute of Health for Welfare, during his early presidency to replace Seguro Popular by 2020. SABI was intended to increase efficiency and accountability within public healthcare by consolidating various entities composing its current national system such as IMSS, ISSSTE and Pemex into one entity; additionally it featured a community participation component which allows local communities to prioritize health issues before creating strategies to address them.

However, this model was later dropped in favor of MAIS (IMSS-Bienestar Model of Integrated Health Care) which is in use today. The new model emphasizes medical care and is administered by the IMSS via agreements with each of Mexico’s states; AMLO-led states receive priority. Yet despite this policy change, universal health coverage still poses considerable difficulties. There remain many areas in which accessing quality healthcare is difficult, particularly rural and marginalized communities. Partners In Health has supported nine rural primary care clinics, a birthing center, and a community hospital in Chiapas State to deliver high-quality healthcare at reduced costs to over 100,000 residents of this coffee-growing state.