Government-supported access to contraception is likely highly cost effective - it makes not just intuitive sense, but studies seem to bear this out. Without all the bother of just letting teen moms and their homeless kids, you know, die in the streets and spread measles all around.
Tuberculosis tends to spread in crowded conditions and where treatment is not readily available - but treatment is different than vaccination. Mexico does routinely vaccinate against TB (with BCG vaccine, which sorta works); the US doesn't. Latent tuberculosis, for what it's worth, is about equally prevalent in migrant populations from Eastern Europe in my part of the world (Pacific Northwest United States), who tend to be legal immigrants. See http://ethnomed.org/clinical/t... for pretty graphs.
So, I wouldn't look so strongly at Mexico, as I would at San Diego, which is the backyard of Dr Bob Sears and his Vaccine Book. He promulgates a non-evidence-based Alternative Schedule that more or less gives privileged white parents permission to be suspicious of the pro-science crowd. (See http://pediatrics.aappublicati... for cogent commentary on the same.)
With a panel of about 2000 patients, I've got more or less 0 vaccine refusers among my Mexican and Central American population, which correlates well with the Unicef data cited above.
Cherry JD. Measles virus. In: Textbook of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, 6th ed, Feigin RD, Cherry JD, Demmler-Harrison GJ, et al (Eds), Saunders, Philadelphia 2009. p.2427.
Bernstein DI, Schiff GM. Measles. In: Infectious Diseases, Gorbach SL, Bartlett JG, Blacklow NR (Eds), WB Saunders, Philadelphia 1998. p.1296.
In some sense, increasing cancer mortality likely results from people in industrialized nations being killed less often by other stuff (cars, emphysema, smallpox, contaminated water). And walking 10 km (on a regular basis) probably has significantly decreased cancer mortality, probably by changes in hormone balance and metabolism. Cancer research may not always be flashy, but they do seem to dig up useful stuff over time.
Moreover, contrary to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, modern treatment insists patients have voluntary, informed consent. This data isn't exactly hard to come by - Google ECT PubMed. In the US, unfortunately, ECT can be hard to come by, given attitudes such as that expressed by the parent poster, and I suspect reimbursement isn't that great (patients get general anesthesia for a few minutes, which isn't cheap, but US Medicare reimbursement for psychiatry is notoriously poor such that most psychiatrists don't take Medicare).
For some patients (perhaps about half) long-term outcomes for schizophrenia are reasonably functional. (Harding CM et al, The Vermont longitudinal study of persons with severe mental illness, Am J Psychiatry 1987: 144: 718.) For the other half, even on medication, they progressively deteriorate. It's a bummer for probably all of the latter and many (most?) of the former to not take their medicine, for everyone - they don't seem any happier, as agitation and paranoia tend to increase, and unmedicated psychosis is where ideas about pushing people in front of buses ferment. My sympathy is firm: I wouldn't want to take the pills either, what with varying degrees of fatigue (though this usually abates in most patients after a few weeks), weight gain, increasing cholesterol and blood sugar. I feel bad about the guys gesticulating wildly on the street, and though it's arguable their fate is better off than when us North Americans routinely institutionalized such people, it's hard not to feel they've been abandoned.
I'm not aware of antipsychotics causing physical or psychological dependence (using the clinical meaning of drug dependence), and I'm not aware of habituation either. I'd be interested in any such references. If I can get patients to take the pills, they do not seem to need more antipsychotics over time, nor do they withdraw when they stop taking them. I'm truly happy for people who can safely manage their hallucinations without medication, but for a great many patients - probably most - they really seem better off on antipsychotics.
I have not noted any downward pricing trend.
I have noted a lot of advertising from medical groups, however - in newspapers, sponsoring the weather on television, on billboards, and stadium walls. Not from new doctors coming to town, for the most part, since in most metropolitan areas small practices are increasingly being replaced by larger groups with more negotiating power or owned by hospital systems. That also doesn't seem to have improved pricing.
In most primary care practices I know of, you can typically make a same day appointment. I'd rue the day, however, you found an empty waiting room - that doesn't seem like the most efficient use of resources (especially given that physicians nearly all go through federally financed residencies in the US, and medical school itself elsewhere).
I know this is an incredibly unpopular thing to say right now, but consider that the first thing we do to a new child born into this world is to slap them in the face. Why would we do that? Willingly induce pain to a brand new life that literally hasn't even been in the world a minute? It's to induce breathing. To get that child sucking down yummy nitrogen-oxygen mixtures. The pain is for the benefit of the child. All too often, letting a child learn something "the hard way" is seen as child abuse, but the reality is that human beings don't learn things by being told, they learn things by doing. And a lot of doing involves screwing up and getting hurt.
I'm all for experiential learning, but I don't know anyone who slaps newborns in the face to get them breathing. (N.B.: I deliver newborns for a living, and work with a bunch of other people who do as well and am aware of their practice patterns.) Babies usually squall on their own just fine, and for those that don't we'll vigorously towel-dry them. For the even smaller subset who're affected by maternal drugs or other conditions and haven't gotten it together to breathe, we'll flick their feet with a back of a finger (along with verbal encouragement, albeit mostly for our own amusement and by way of explanation to concerned parents). If they're still not sucking down oxygen after a couple of minutes then they get a mask to the face or a tube down the trachea. The previous practice of slapping newborns on the ass to kickstart them has been out of fashion ever since I started practice. Of course, practice patterns vary and maybe you live in a face-slapping place.
The ass-slapping turns out to be unnecessary, though I have stood by while my own children attempted to snort juice up into their noses for an experiential lesson in why we might not do that.