The Initiative to extend Medicare into Mexico: a case study in changing U.S. Health Care Policy

Roberto A. Ibarra


This study examines the geo-political activities of interest groups, governments and multinational corporations involved in an initiative to extend Medicare to U.S. retirees residing in Mexico.  If the initiative to change the current Medicare policy succeeds, the relocation of Medicare-eligible populations from the U.S. to Mexico is likely to increase; the U.S. is expected to gain cost-savings for taxpayers on Medicare; Mexico can develop senior-housing and options for long-term care it currently lacks; and foreign-led multinational corporations will increase their profits and dominance, fostering even more privatization in Mexico’s health care sector. By exploring new issues about retirement migration and health this study seeks to gain knowledge about the phenomena in a number of areas.  First, the retirement migration of North Americans to Latin America is an under-studied phenomenon in the fields of social gerontology, migration research, and health policy studies.  Second, the Medicare in Mexico initiative is even less well-known among health policy scholars than the retirement migration phenomenon into Mexico. Yet this initiative is inherently international in scope and involves a number of US-based institutions and interest groups actively promoting the project from within Mexico. Thus, the initiative has important geo-political and socio-economic implications for reforming health care systems in the U.S. and Mexico.


Health Insurance; Geo-politics; Policy; Health demographics

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