How Comprehensive is the Mexican Healthcare System?


Plenty of Americans, especially as the Affordable Care Act threatens to repeal, seek healthcare in Mexico to pay for multiple health issues. This says a lot about the United States healthcare system, and it’s the unfortunate reality that many Americans won’t receive adequate care unless they leave the country. However, this is only the tip of the iceberg.

Mexico has multiple public health insurance programs that include private out-of-pocket care and employer-provided health insurance. However, numerous institutions also provide care away from social security institutes. 

Hospital General de Mexicali, Baja Califorina (Archive)

How Accessible is Mexican Healthcare?

Although the Mexican healthcare system has its problems like any country, its system is so high in quality and affordable that it attracts many Americans to get medical treatment there. Mexican Medical Tourism Statistics suggest that almost 1 million Americans visit Mexico specifically for medical treatment, which adds $1.5 Billion to the Mexican economy.


The Mexican health care system takes a different approach to the universal healthcare model that’s different from the United Kingdom and Canada. Part of Mexico’s approach existed thanks to Seguro Popular, established 10 years ago, which improved access to healthcare services for low-income families. Before this, only half of Mexicans had health insurance.

Unemployed and poor Mexicans have access to preventative healthcare services like vaccinations and diabetes health screening, as well as treatment for severe or chronic illnesses. This program is funded by state and federal funds, which is similar to Obamacare.

Health Care Statistics in Mexico

Health improved in Mexico thanks to Seguro Popular, which saw their Healthcare Access and Quality Index rise from 49.2 to 62.6 in 15 years. This scale is based on how a country prevents or treats 32 diseases that can be treated easily like diabetes and heart disease, as well as diseases like Polio that are treatable through vaccinations.

As the average of all countries is 53.7, Mexico is better by almost 10 points. Infant mortality dropped to 13 deaths per 1 thousand live births in this time, while death from heart disease is at an all-time low. However, issues like obesity, which is the second-highest in the world, remains a problem. 71 percent of Mexicans are either overweight or obese.

On average, a Mexican citizen will live 74 years, 4 years less than the United States, and 8 years less than Canada, which has universal health care.

Hospital Central “Dr. Ignacio Morones Prieto”

Mexico Still Needs Improvements

Compared to the United States, the Mexican healthcare system is more affordable and more accessible, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t more strides that should be made. 

Many social security institutes aren’t connected. Similar to the United States, if Mexicans lose their jobs, they could lose access to their health insurance. This will disrupt their care regimen or even block them out from receiving health care at all.

Investment in health care is also low but increasing per year. Due to the country’s need to tackle the obesity epidemic, plenty of aspects of the health care system are becoming more accessible for the average Mexican citizen. The investment in healthcare ranges from 2.4-3.3 percent, depending on the year.

However, more healthcare spending doesn’t always offer better results.

Canada spends 11.6% of its GDP on healthcare and is often considered the best health care system in the world (next to Australia and Germany for the top spot). However, the United States spends 17% annually and has a lower life expectancy than most other lower-spending countries. 

45 percent of Mexicans still pay out-of-pocket for their health care services, whereas Americans spend only 11 percent. Don’t be fooled: this low amount is likely because payment is so incredibly high that most can’t afford the out-of-pocket coverage. 

The Mazatlan Post