stretching-the-safety-net1.docx - Stretching the Safety Net...

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Stretching the Safety Net Falling ill is no longer an economic disaster Nov 24th 2012 |The Economist IN SOME RICH countries it remains a distant hope, but in Mexico free universal health care became more or less a reality this year. Having insurance used to be contingent on having a salaried job, which left about half of Mexico’s population with only the most basic care. But since 2004 a programme called Seguro Popular (Popular Insurance) has been gradually rolled out all over the country to provide better services to those without employment-linked insurance. The overwhelming majority of Mexicans are now covered—“a remarkable feat”, according to the Lancet , a British medical journal. To cover the uninsured, the government has increased its spending on health from 5% of GDP at the turn of the century to nearly 6.5%, which is still lower than in most of the rich world. More than 200 new hospitals and 2,000 clinics have been built and thousands more renovated. The ratio of doctors to patients is up by more than half.
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