One of the social areas in which the greatest lags have accumulated over the last decades is that related to the guarantee of the right to health. Indeed, as a result of the reform to article 4 of the Magna Carta, published on February 3, 1983 in the DOF, this right was raised to constitutional status. This would give rise to the creation of the General Health Law, published in 1984, and which, with multiple reforms and additions, remains in force to this day.
The purpose of this reform was to achieve the articulation of a health system based on concurrence and an increasingly balanced distribution of powers and functions, aimed at promoting more and more normative capacities at the federal level, and increasingly greater capacities for care and operations in the states and municipalities. Since then, different care models and schemes have been promoted, and the results have always been poor.
Next year will mark four decades of unsuccessful efforts, which today charge a tremendously expensive bill, since the most serious effects are found in the suffering of diseases that become incurable, disabling and that lead to the death of hundreds of thousands of people.
The bottom line in all of this is that the construction of a comprehensive social protection system has not been approached based on a broad consensus of the Republic; The most recent example is the failed transition from Seguro Popular to the so-called INSABI, and which should lead us to a serious reflection on how to move towards a universal system that is capable of guaranteeing the broadest level of enjoyment of the right to health that we have. like Mexicans.
It could be said that the National Health Survey summarizes this crisis that has become permanent in one piece of data: in 2021, only 40% of the population that required health care did so in public institutions; that is, only four out of 10. Disaggregated by sex, the data indicates that, among women, 42% of those who received medical attention to their needs obtained it from public institutions, while among men the percentage was only 37 percent.
Seen by region, there are also very important differences, since in the Central Pacific Region care in public institutions was only 38% of the population that required health services; in the State of Mexico region it was only 37%; in the South Pacific, 35%; while in the Central Region there is only 33% care in public institutions, that is, just under one in three people who require health care.
Additionally, ENSANUT reports that 25% of the national population received care in private medical offices, plus 18% who received care in offices adjacent to pharmacies. If both items are added, the data is that 43% of the national population receives care in private clinics, a higher indicator than that of public sector care.
The point is that a universal health care system capable of providing timely and quality services requires extraordinary investments; and without a fiscal reform that will be frankly impossible. Therefore, the Federal Executive should take advantage of the two years remaining in his administration to build a reform that gives him the resources required to build the foundations of a new system and that allows whoever succeeds him in office, to have room for maneuver to move forward in this direction.
Preventable death and disease are signs of our times. And for this reason, what is most urgent is that we leave behind a Mexico where every day, deaths that should not be counted by the thousands.
Mario Luis Fuentes
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