Summary – Morning Presidential Press Conference – Tuesday, August 29, 2023

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador criticized the cynicism of the Judiciary for requesting a budget of more than 84 billion pesos (US$4.97 billion) for fiscal year 2024, when it violates the law by maintaining salaries higher than those established in the Constitution and has a 25 billion peso (US$12.48 billion) trust fund that allows the judicial branch to finance excesses at the expense of the public treasury.

The head of the Executive Branch announced that, one day before the start of the 2023-2024 school year, 30 states have distributed the new free textbooks issued by the Ministry of Public Education (SEP). Only Chihuahua and Coahuila have not allowed the textbooks to be distributed because they filed a constitutional challenge with the Supreme Court.

Federal Attorney General Arturo Medina denounced a scheme to loot and defraud the Institute for Social Security and Services for State Employees (ISSSTE) which, for more than 12 years, allowed lawsuits to be filed to obtain high pensions in violation of the law. This resulted in a loss of 15 billion pesos (US$880 million). Thirty-one complaints have been filed with the Federal Attorney General’s Office (FGR); 22 people have been prosecuted, and the payment of illegal pensions for more than 1.2 billion pesos (US$71 million) has been prevented. In addition, there are two complaints that have been filed against former ISSSTE director Miguel Ángel Yunes, for issues related to the misappropriation of resources.

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The Mexican government presented the progress of the ISSSTE rescue plan, which seeks to restore its character as a public service, after years of its being looted, corruption, and privatization. The plan includes actions to improve service and equipment, provide maintenance to hospital infrastructure, and guarantee the supply of pharmaceuticals and medical personnel. “Health is not a privilege, it is a right,” the President declared.

ISSSTE General Director Pedro Zenteno emphasized that the institution is in a stage where it is being nationalized, as opposed to privatized, and strengthened. Currently, six new hospitals with 940 beds are being built; facilities are being improved, and medical equipment is being purchased with an investment of 5 billion pesos (US$290 million), while more than 10 billion pesos (US$5690 million) are being earmarked for the supply of pharmaceuticals.

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Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) General Director Zoé Robledo announced that by the end of 2023, the IMSS Bienestar health-care program will be operating in 24 states with 692 hospitals and 13,886 health-care centers, which will provide free medical services to more than 53.24 million people without social security.