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Lesson Transcript

Culture File: Mexico - Lesson 21: Healthcare
Hello, and welcome to the Culture File: Mexico series at SpanishPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring essential cultural information about Mexico, Mexican Culture, and Mexican People. In this lesson, we will continue with another episode of this series about Mexican economic activities. I’m Michael, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 21: Healthcare.
When talking about any country's economy, health care is always a major part of the discussion. In Mexico, health care spending covers over 6% of the gross domestic product. Because government health care is universal, obtaining private health insurance is fairly uncommon, accounting for only 3% of total health expenditures.
Mexican citizens have the option of obtaining health care, or "atención médica", through either public or private institutions. The main public institutions are the Mexican Social Security Institute, known as the IMSS, and the Institute for Social Security and Services for State Workers, or ISSSTE. These institutions cover regular working citizens. On the other hand, informal workers and people who aren’t covered by any other services can get coverage through alternate medical institutions and programs such as the Popular Security Program, or Seguro Popular, or the Secretariat of Health, or Secretaría de Salud, which is the government department that not only oversees all social health services in the country but also grants free public healthcare to all Mexican citizens, whether employed or not.
Other organizations like the Secretariat of National Defense, Mexican Navy, Red Cross and PEMEX also provide their own health care systems.
Some of the public health institutions in Mexico’s biggest cities, such as Mexico City, Monterrey, and Guadalajara, are well recognized not only for being affordable, but for being well organized as well. Hospitals, or "hospitales", are well equipped with modern technology and are sometimes staffed with doctors, or "doctores" and nurses, or "enfermeras" who studied in foreign countries like the United States. Many medical students from the United States also choose to undergo their training in Mexico. The nation’s affordable health care systems attract foreigners seeking medical attention from all over, some of whom even end up retiring in Mexico.
The private sector of Mexico’s health care industry is comprised of insurance companies, or "compañías de seguros", private hospitals, and clinics. About one third of the population chooses to use private health services, mainly because they provide quicker and higher quality services. In Mexico’s private healthcare sector, you will also find a number of hospitals with international accreditations and awards. Because of Mexico’s reputation for having relatively cheap and high-quality health services, it's not uncommon to see foreign patients coming to Mexico for quality, affordable treatment.
So listeners, how did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Is the healthcare system in your country similar to the one in Mexico?
Leave a comment telling us at SpanishPod101.com! Until next time!