Jan 11, 2008

Medical Tourism and the Coming Election

"Medical Tourism" occurs when people travel all over the world for medical procedures that either cost a lot or have a long wait time in their own country. In Canada with universal health care, the number of medical procedures in 2005 for which people were waiting was 782,936.[1] That means doctors and hospital beds to treat even seriously ill patients are not available on anything near a timely basis. Everyone has to wait. See this video "A Short Course in Brain Surgery for an example.

A friend in San Antonio tells me that her father was a medical tourist who came to the U.S. several years ago for a heart bypass operation. His wait time in Canada was going to be at least three to four months and the family didn't believe he could survive that long. So he flew to San Antonio where the surgery was performed almost immediately, then flew home after recovery from the successful surgery.

If the U.S. votes for a new president who is able to install Universal Health Care, then our country also will have significant wait times for medical treatment. For those able to afford it, they'll travel to other countries--not a good situation for our country's already unfavorable balance of payments.

A sister returned from Costa Rica recently and said that she and her husband saw large signboards that greet tourists with claims of much reduced costs for dental treatment. Will older people with limited savings and poor teeth be attracted? Of course! Why not take a vacation to Costa Rica during the winter to get dental implants? Or why not go to India, Argentina, a Scandanavian country, or Thailand for other medical procedures--most of which will cost much less than what it will cost in the U.S. Moreover, the treatments will be performed by well-trained physicians in good hospitals (if good homework is done to research the selected physicians and medical facilities).

There are good reasons for not traveling to another country for medical treatment: (1) unknown risks; (2) no applied insurance; and (3) inability to sue for damages if the procedure is badly performed. Still, as pointed out in a 60 Minutes news program, people will follow the demands of their pocketbook with respect to getting the most cost effective medical treatments. Will you be a medical tourist if Universal Health Care comes to the U.S.?

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hello Dust, and thanks for your article. I am one of three American directors of America's Medical Solutions Pvt. Ltd. You can locate our web site at www.americasmedicalsolutions.com or AMS for short.

It is said that "birds of a feather flock together," and that's true whether Indians are living in the west or whether Americans are living in India. But we three Americans are holding western hands flocking to India for all kinds of medical care. Some are scared and making their very first trips out of the country for serious surgeries like hip resurfacing, LASIK eye surgery, plastic surger of all types, dental work, and you name it.

The best thing is that AMS doesn't charge for our concierge services. The doctors, hospitals and clinics in India have found it very advantageous to them to have us help with western patients so they pay our fees.

Western patients love us because we understand how important that McDonald's burger might be or even a Hard Rock Cafe burger. We regularly run these kinds of personal errands and more. The cost is only the price of the sandwich. :)

We have a local mobile phone for our customers to use while they're here and we can be contacted day or night.

Tell your friends and visit our web site to get the costs on absolutely any kind of medical procedure there is. Indian medicine might be matched, but it can't be beat in terms of world-class services, accommodations and price.

Thanks,

Don Wood

Paul Johnson said...

Argentina is really heating up in terms of medical tourism plus people will be able to visit some of the beautiful scenery in Buenos Aires. GoSculptura is a solid choice for patients who are planning to get their medical procedures in Argentina. Here is a good reason why.. Thanks :D