Just a decade ago, half of all Mexicans — 52 million people — had no health insurance. As many as 4 million families a year faced financial ruin because of catastrophic illness, like breast cancer.
Today, those same families have access to treatment because of Seguro Popular. The universal health care initiative, launched in 2003 and largely powered by Harvard research, is funded with less than 1 percent of the country’s GDP. It has gradually expanded to cover a range of catastrophic illnesses. Breast cancer, with its fast-rising rates and ever-younger victims, was added in 2007.