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October 17, 2006

¿Y Tu, Mexico?

Over the last few years, Mexico has been rolling out a universal health care system focused on access to preventative care and free enrollment for the bottom income quintile. The results?

The number of cases of malaria have dropped by 60%, six times more people are receiving antiretroviral therapy, TB mortality has fallen by 30%, and Mexico is only one of seven countries on track to reduce child mortality by two-thirds by 2015; the fourth Millennium Development Goal (MDG4). The reforms have also led to a 17% reduction in the proportion of male teenagers who smoke, a 17% increase in the use of mammography, and a 32% increase in the number of pap smear tests over the past 5 years.

Beyond preventative care, new data out today shows that childhood cancer mortality is plummeting as well. In addition, the Mexican government has vastly updated their health infrastructure, building 1,700 new facilities, enrolled 22 million residents in the plan, and is on track for universal coverage by 2010. Last month, representatives from 45 countries flew out to hear how they've carried all this out. Sadly, I don't think Mike Leavitt was one of them. It's going to be quite a day when Mexico has extended coverage to their entire population, and their richer neighbor to the north is tipping past 50 million uninsured.

October 17, 2006 | Permalink

Comments

It's easy to get big percentages when you are down to start with. So how does Mexico stack up to the United States in these areas?

Posted by: Fred Jones | Oct 17, 2006 2:46:17 PM

There is a wealth of information here:

http://www.who.int/whr/2006/annex/en/index.html

Pick your poison, .pdf or Excel

Posted by: stumpy | Oct 17, 2006 3:21:28 PM

Thanks!!

Posted by: Fred Jones | Oct 17, 2006 4:06:52 PM

I don't know which I feel more strongly: I'm very impressed with Mexico, while simultaneously totally disgusted with us.

Posted by: Rebecca Allen, PhD, ARNP | Oct 17, 2006 4:17:35 PM

Another comment: this is a real poke in the eye to the Republican notion that increased governmental spending never accomplishes anything. This would also seem to be a good intro for a Dem stump speech on improving the health care system. John Edwards, are you listening?

Posted by: Rebecca Allen, PhD, ARNP | Oct 17, 2006 4:19:03 PM

"It's easy to get big percentages when you are down to start with. So how does Mexico stack up to the United States in these areas?"

My guess is, Ezra is not impressed with or jealous of the gains that they've made. Instead, he's glad the country is doing well but amazed that a nation that has so much less than the United States has gotten its act together so much more quickly.

Posted by: Brian | Oct 17, 2006 5:16:30 PM

Its a good lesson. But if used as an argument of Universal Health Care in the United States, cost comparisons will need to be done. There IS an element of truth to Fred's comment, and that is it will likely cost more per person to insure every American. And while I believe the numbers add up in our favor, simply pointing out that we're the richest nation in the world isn't enough.

Posted by: Adrock | Oct 17, 2006 6:01:02 PM

I haven't studied this policy area for Mexico, but I know a bunch of poor Mexicans and they don't have access to any of this. One of them just called me up asking for a loan so he could take his kid to the doctor. And he lives in the relatively upscale and medical infrastructure-rich Cuernavaca. There is much more to this report, I am sure...

Posted by: Tyler Cowen | Oct 17, 2006 6:40:33 PM

I haven't studied this policy area for Mexico, but I know a bunch of poor Mexicans and they don't have access to any of this. One of them just called me up asking for a loan so he could take his kid to the doctor. And he lives in the relatively upscale and medical infrastructure-rich Cuernavaca. There is much more to this report, I am sure...

Oh, Tyler!

You don't understand the game at all. The report is a simply a political tool to wave about and promote their long term agenda of big-government, single payer system. These people don't give a rats ass about the Mexicans and if they have insurance or not.

Don't look at the report too closely.

Posted by: Fed Jones | Oct 17, 2006 7:38:48 PM

..and the inner Stalinist leaps out, brandishing its little purges like medals.

Bring data and analysis next time, Bukharin.

Posted by: wcw | Oct 18, 2006 3:28:08 AM

It seems that the coverage is quite limited--which is a good model to consider. The cheap benefits (spend a little, improve outcomes a lot) are in pre-natal care, birth, neo-natal care, vaccinations, routine off-patent drugs (for TB, malaria, etc); these are the hardest for the uninsured to access under the US system.

Posted by: SamChevre | Oct 18, 2006 10:04:32 AM

That wasn't a real Tyler Cowen post - it was a spoof. Obviously the real TC wouldn't try to counter a serious policy argument by saying "yeah, well, I know a Mexican who tried to borrow money for medical treatment". It's like saying "my grandfather smoked all his life and died aged 93" - the argument of a fool.

Posted by: ajay | Oct 18, 2006 12:21:34 PM

I don't know which I feel more strongly: I'm very impressed with Mexico, while simultaneously totally disgusted with us.
---Posted by: Rebecca Allen, PhD, ARNP | Oct 17, 2006 1:17:35 PM

Solution: Move to Mexico

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