Graduation Year


Document Type

Senior Thesis


Bachelor of Arts

Primary Major

International Studies

Primary Minor


Second Minor

Molecular Cell Biology

Thesis Advisor

Jordan Lieser, PhD


In the 1917 Mexican Constitution, Article 123 Section Number 14, health became an occupational right in which the employer paid for sickness and injuries, a right advocated in the Mexican Revolution. Despite this, it was not until 1943, with the creation of Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social (Mexican Social Security Institute), that it became a reality. Following the creation of social security, other programs were established for federal workers (the Institute for Social Security and Services for State Workers), oil workers (Mexican Petroleum Company), and the armed forces (Ministry of National Defense and Secretariat of the Navy). Even then, the new healthcare system was not for everyone, generally leaving out informal laborers. There were varying degrees of quality and access to healthcare within subsystems. In 1983, a more meaningful attempt was made to include everyone and provide healthcare access for all Mexicans. A 1983 amendment to Article 4 of the Constitution added, "Every person has the right to health protection. The law will define the ways and means for access to health services and will establish the concurrence of the Federation and the federated entities in matters of public health…” This led to subsequent healthcare reforms in the hope of a quality, equitable, and efficient universal health system in Mexico. The reforms attempted to unite and improve the health sectors, such as the Sistema Nacional de Salud (National Health System), the Programa de Reforma del Sector Salud (Health Sector Reform Program), and Seguro Popular (Popular Insurance), but many increased divisiveness and inequality. By piecing together this long history of reform, this paper analyzes the overall strategy and effectiveness of the Mexican Healthcare System, specifically focusing on the more contemporary reforms from 1983 to 2003, ultimately concluding that the Mexican healthcare system remains divided and inefficient.