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A New Age for Healthcare in Mexico? What Challenges Lay Ahead?

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About the author 

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Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) sailed to victory on a huge margin. While AMLO’s campaign prioritized economic growth and ending corruption, the newly-elected President did address healthcare as part of his campaign proposals. The question now is: What will AMLO’s win suggest for the healthcare sector?

Mexicans, in droves, made themselves heard this Sunday during the presidential elections giving AMLO over 50 percent of the vote with competitors Ricardo Anaya, José Antonio Meade and Jaime Rodríguez trailing behind. AMLO’s “Together we will make history” coalition also took a strong lead in Mexico’s Chamber of Deputies with 70.3 percent of seats assigned, giving the President-Elect an enviable position from which to shape policy for years to come. However, AMLO’s policies have been less than clear. While he centered his campaign on ending corruption, he has not made public his strategy to do so and other significant matters of Mexico’s economy are still unclear, healthcare policies amongst them.

During his campaign, AMLO promised to strengthen Mexico’s public healthcare to guarantee access to care for all Mexicans. In the presentation of the party’s National Plan, Esteban Moctezuma, who is part AMLO’s team and a potential candidate for Minister of Education, highlighted the party’s commitment with healthcare. “Mexico owes a debt to the health of its people,” he said.

The party’s Proposal 18 states that Mexico has severe access-to-care problems, mainly for those in the lower economic levels, and states that 20.5 million Mexicans lack access to any type of healthcare protection. To increase access to care, AMLO indicated he plans to increase the healthcare budget by at least 1 percent of Mexico’s GDP, eliminate the existing fragmentation in the public system and transform Mexico’s current healthcare model toward one based on primary attention.

He also insisted that said healthcare model will treat patients with warmth and quality. This model will also monitor and support individuals throughout their lives through comprehensive care networks. His proposal of universal healthcare coverage includes providing medications and services in public hospitals and clinics free of charge and shifting the current healthcare model toward prevention of chronic diseases. This would be achieved through a more efficient use of resources and the elimination of corruption. The party’s proposal also highlights the importance of research in healthcare, mainly in the areas of chronic diseases, kidney failure and nutrition for mothers and their children.

AMLO prioritized universal healthcare and, if achieved, this could mean a significant change for existing healthcare systems and better access to care for Mexicans. While the path toward said change is not yet clear, achieving it would be a significant win for Mexico’s President-Elect.