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Surprising Science

Mexico Gets Universal Health Care. Will the US?

Mexico has recently implemented a government-funded heath care program that covers every citizen, despite having far fewer resources than the US. Will Americans ever take the leap?

What’s the Latest Development?

While Mexico’s reformers admit there is still work to be done, the country as a whole has just crossed the goal line of offering universal health care. Like health care reform in the US, many Mexicans were skeptical that such a plan could work and many special interests stood in the way of change. But after eight years of negotiations, government officials were able to implement a new payment system that ended incentives to provide as many services as possible and a new focus on preventative medicine will help avert illness and its high treatment costs.  

What’s the Big Idea?

The world’s 25 richest countries, with the stark exception of the US, now provide their citizens with some form of universal health care. In order to do so, governments have had to fight rising health care costs which, oddly, is the main complaint of those who oppose current American health care reform. But there is still hope for the US, says David de Ferranti, former World Bank vice president, and Julio Frenk, dean of the Harvard School of Public Health, if the nation can find the moral leadership that helped to make education a public good before much of the rest of the world. 

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