Mexico’s new free healthcare institute spreads confusion

Mexico revamped its free healthcare institute but is now spreading incorrect information

Mexico’s new free healthcare institute spreads confusion
President López Obrador claims the INSABI will provide free healthcare, in a model similar to Nordic countries - Photo: File Photo/EL UNIVERSAL
English 12/01/2020 09:09 Mexico City Editorial Actualizada 09:10
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It’s been constantly said that the new Health Institute for Well-being (Insabi) will provide free medical attention to those who lack social security but according to the rules established by Insabi, this is not the case. However, by stating otherwise, authorities are making a mistake by spreading false information as in many cases, medicines and services are not free. For example, when the patient arrives at specialized hospitals, they are informed that they will have to pay a fee, which is established after a socioeconomic study; therefore, the services provided by the Insabi are not free of charge, as it was claimed even before the new institute started operating.

Authorities have also failed to mention that some services such as lab tests and surgeries have a price, which can’t be compared to prices set by private hospitals; however, it is likely that the patient does not have the money to pay for the urgent medical attention.

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Providing access to the health services offered by the Mexican government is an urgent need but it has a price that is not carefully explained to the potential Insabi patients. Authorities have to inform users that first level attention and some medicines are free. Therefore, authorities are incurring in a serious omission when they fail to mention this, a mistake that should be corrected by the Insabi and the Health Ministry immediately.

If the government aimed to restructure the former public health institute, it should have clearly established everything the Insabi is and isn’t through intense media campaign aimed at its potential users, health workers, and government officials because at this point, now that the new health institute is operating, it’s incomprehensible that federal officials don’t understand the reach and limitation of the Insabi and spread wrong information. It is necessary to explain this to people who need urgent medical attention.

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