Answering the question “does Mexico Have Universal Healthcare Coverage” can be complex. As of January 2022, Mexico had not reached universal healthcare coverage; many individuals were enrolled in its public insurance scheme (Seguro Popular) and had access to healthcare; however, out-of-pocket expenses remained high due to segmented public insurance schemes in Mexico without central authorities that oversee reimbursement processes for providers.
At present, Mexico’s healthcare system remains fragmented and difficult to navigate, which has lead to a lack of trust and transparency within the sector. Furthermore, public hospital waiting times tend to be long, leading to overbooked appointments – prompting some Mexicans to seek healthcare in private clinics or hospitals with shorter waiting times.
According to a World Bank estimate, roughly half of Mexico’s population spends more than $80 monthly on healthcare expenses – well above regional average. This trend can be explained by public healthcare coverage not covering all expenses related to the treatment of certain illnesses such as cancer; thus causing them to spend an average 8.5% of their income out of pocket on out-of-pocket expenses.
Due to this situation, the Mexican government has sought reforms that will enhance Mexico’s healthcare system and decrease out-of-pocket expenses for its citizens. One measure would be consolidating Mexico’s fragmented systems of financing and delivery while others include measures which encourage greater cooperation between public and private insurance schemes.
Government measures include hiring additional doctors and nurses for rural areas; however, these efforts haven’t been sufficient to address the growing number of Mexicans experiencing healthcare deprivation due to COVID-19 pandemic and transition from Insabi to IMSS-Bienestar having caused out of pocket medical expenses for Mexican population to increase by 40% within two years – this increase having the biggest effect on those from poorest deciles of society, who were unable to access treatment from public hospitals.
As part of his campaign platform, President Lopez Obrador promised to revive Mexico’s 1917 constitution’s broad social justice values enshrined within health and healthcare provision rights. His dedication was in line with his pledge of making public healthcare truly universal, by eliminating user charges and enrolling all Mexicans, including the poorest communities, starting in 2020. For this purpose, he established the Institute of Health for Wellbeing that eventually replaced Seguro Popular. However, the new scheme poses challenges and must be effectively implemented to be successful. To address them, the World Bank has identified key barriers such as financial, administrative and governance ones; to effectively navigate them it is vital to learn from other countries – particularly middle-income ones that have implemented UHC successfully – including middle-income ones that have successfully done so themselves.