Image credits: Chamber of Deputies
News Article

Mexico Should Spend 6 percent of GDP in Health: PRI

By Antonio Gozain | Wed, 11/03/2021 - 17:17

To address Mexico’s poor public health spending, PRI’s parliamentary group at the Chamber of Deputies submitted a reform initiative to guarantee an annual expenditure in public health of a minimum of 6 percent of the country’s GDP, reported Milenio.

The 6 percent proposed by PRI deputies is the minimum recommended by WHO. In 2013, the government had assigned 2.87 percentage points of the GDP to the public health system, but this number decreased every year until 2019, when it hit its lowest point in ten years: MX$624 billion (US$31 billion), 2.55 percent of the GDP, according to the Economic Investigation Center.

The initiative assigns two-thirds of the budget to the free provision of medical services and healthcare, medicines and related supplies, reported Milenio. PRI deputy Sue Ellen Bernal said that the federal government’s actions during past years have worsened the situation of the health sector, which already faced trouble in the past. “The health of people has nothing to do with ideologies or political parties,” she said.

Mexico’s struggles with its health system are not new. The country has several competing, non-cooperating nor coordinated healthcare systems, each with its own financing structure, as reported by MBN. Low public health spending translates to high out-of-pocket expenses, affecting the entire population. Between 2018 and 2020, the population affiliated with public healthcare institutions decreased by 14.4 percent, while out-of-pocket expenses in health matters increased from MX$2,358 (US$118) to MX$3,299 (US$165) per quarter. “The importance of a correct public spending in health is that it creates lower out-of-pocket expenses for people,” says CIEP.

Separately from the original submission, PRI deputy Carlos Iriarte proposed an addition to the General Health Law to guarantee the integration and legal recognition of the primary caretaker, personal assistant, nurse, custodian or support person as co-assistant of the health team. This person would be recognized before, during and after the hospital stay of pediatric patients and elder adults who require specific attention due to their age, diagnosis or disability.

"This will avoid the legal ambiguity associated with the violation of rights and the precariousness of socioeconomic conditions," said Iriarte, who explained that older adults will make up 15 percent of Mexico’s population by 2030. “Although the increase in life expectancy is good news, it also implies that more Mexicans will carry out full or partial care work for a family member or close friend.” Therefore, the recognition of the co-assistant figure is the first step for these people to receive support from the government, said Iriarte.

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
MBN, Milenio, CIEP
Photo by:   Chamber of Deputies
Antonio Gozain Antonio Gozain Journalist and Industry Analyst