Ethical and human rights foundations of health policy: Lessons from comprehensive reform in Mexico

Julio Frenk, Octavio Gómez-Dantés

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper discusses the use of an explicit ethical and human rights framework to guide a reform intended to provide universal and comprehensive social protection in health for all Mexicans, independently of their socio-economic status or labor market condition. This reform was designed, implemented, and evaluated by making use of what Michael Reich has identified as the three pillars of public policy: technical, political, and ethical. The use of evidence and political strategies in the design and negotiation of the Mexican health reform is briefly discussed in the first part of this paper. The second part examines the ethical component of the reform, including the guiding concept and values, as well as the specific entitlements that gave operational meaning to the right to health care that was enshrined in Mexico’s 1983 Constitution. The impact of this rights-based health reform, measured through an external evaluation, is discussed in the final section. The main message of this paper is that a clear ethical framework, combined with technical excellence and political skill, can deliver major policy results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-37
Number of pages7
JournalHealth and Human Rights
Volume17
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Health(social science)
  • Political Science and International Relations

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