Mexico Beats U.S. In Health Care

There continues to be a false narrative in America that México significantly lags America in quality of life and other world metric comparisons. Many still snicker when parity between México and the United States is brought up in discussions. México has been making great strides in its economy, politics and world parity over the last few decades. The news about this reality comes out regularly, but many ignore them to keep the false narrative alive. The latest example is the Bloomberg report* on efficient healthcare systems in America that was published last week.

The Bloomberg report ranks the health care efficiency in 56 world economies.

According to Bloomberg, the efficiency of México’s health care system is ranked twentieth in the 56 countries sampled. Hong Kong is ranked as number one, and the United States is ranked second to last, right above Bulgaria at the bottom of the list.

That is right, while México is at the top twenty, the United States is just one above the bottom of the list.

While the United States is still debating universal health care with the future of the Affordable Health Care Act, or ObamaCare, México successfully implemented universal health care.

In 2012, México achieved universal healthcare.

However, it is not just about access to health care and the cost, but the quality of the health care is an important factor.

A study published in 2017 in The Lancet found that México’s Healthcare Access and Quality Index rating rose from 49.2 in 1990 to 62.6 in 2015. Over the same period, the HAQ Index for the United States rose from 73.7 to 81.3.

An OECD report found that deaths from heart disease and stroke in México have declined to 292 deaths per 100,000 people. In the United States, 252 out of every 100,000 Americans died from cardiovascular diseases, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in 2014.

México invests 3.3 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) in its healthcare system. In 2015, the United States spent 17 percent of its GDP on healthcare, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

However, the efficient use of the health care dollars is important to the equation.

The United States spends more per person on healthcare than every other country in the world, but its life expectancy is lower than other countries that spend less of their national budgets on health.

México continues to make significant progress on many quality of life metrics even surpassing the United States in some of them. That is the factual narrative that needs to be had.

* Bloomberg article: Miller, Lee J., Wei Lu; “These Are the Economies With the Most (and Least) Efficient Health Care”: Business; Bloomberg; September 19, 2018

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