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Mexico Offers Free Services In Federal Public Hospitals

MEXICO CITY — Last January, Mexico’s president promised to establish a high-quality universal health-care system comparable to the top systems in the world, such as Denmark’s. The Dec. 1 deadline for that goal has passed, and despite some changes being made, many see it as a broken promise. 

President Andres Manuel López Obrador has pushed for reshaping public health care, including rebranding the national hospital system and centralizing the medicine supply chain. 

The latest change came as the Dec. 1 deadline for his promise arrived. Public hospitals and healthcare institutions under federal control will not charge any fees anymore, eliminating the obligation of being registered by social security institutions.

But critics say the changes are a smoke screen, as deficiencies in public health services persist, and the elimination of fees doesn’t apply to most public hospitals.

Parents of children with cancer are among those criticizing the changes, as medicine shortages are leaving many without proper care.

Rodrigo Cervantes was KJZZ’s bureau chief in Mexico City from 2016 to 2021.