As the cost of insurance, health issues, and unemployment continue to rise, “45 million Americans are uninsured and many more are underinsured and face high co-payments for expensive procedures” (Hill, 2011, pg. 3). I am originally from Southern California, where if you did not have some type of plastic surgery done you were considered to be of lower class. As breast augmentations and Botox became more and more popular in the 90’s, Hollywood was known as the land of silicone, but at an extremely high price.
My mother had many friends who wanted work done but could not afford the cost of going to a fancy doctor and started to research other alternatives. They discovered that a trend to travel to local states and even Mexico for half the cost was growing rapidly and becoming acceptable. Trends such as these have help contribute to medical procedures moving into other countries. American’s realized that not only small procedures could be done but that they could go outside of the United States for more dangerous surgeries and procedures as well.
It is well known that foreign students come to America to earn their degrees then move back to their respective country to be medical doctor performing these procedures. A trend is something that always starts out small (plastic surgery) then grows into something larger (surgeries and procedures for health issues). This specific trend has grown so big that it is now known as “medical tourism”, which refers to the “thousands of Americans who travel to other countries each year in search of more affordable health care.
Some go for elective surgeries, such as breast augmentations or dental work, while others pursue medically necessary procedures” (Davidow, 2006). There are many risks that the patient can take on if they decide to go outside of the United States for affordable health care. The benefits can be good and bad to do medical tourism and it is recommended that extensive research be done before you do it. The good benefit of course would be the lower cost of the procedures as “costs in these countries generally run from 20 to 35 percent of costs for the same procedures in the United States” (Hill, 2011, pg.
3). I believe that there are far more cons to medical tourism than there are benefits. The first major risk is that any type of follow up care would be impossible unless you decide to fully recover in the country or hospital that the procedure was done at. This typically does not happen as it would increase the cost of the procedure substantially. The second would be that if anything were to go wrong, legal recourse could be extremely difficult.
This would then leave you in a worse situation then what you were in to begin with and no way to fix it. The last but the most important part is the quality of medical treatment versus what you would receive here in the United States. It is a proven fact that globalization in general is bad for our American economy, but when it comes to health care, it does not seem to impact our economy as much, yet! Americans are suffering because they cannot afford health care here in the U.S. and cannot get the medical attention they need because of costs.
Countries such as India and Singapore will benefit the most from globalization of health care as they will not only be able to continue to practice these procedures to get better at them, they will bring in more money into their countries to help boost their economies instead of our own. Those who are able to find a private hospital and have a successful procedure at a low cost will benefit as well.
The doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies in the United States will not benefit from medical tourism as they will lose extreme amounts of money. Currently today there are no regulations against medical tourism but it is frowned upon and it is not something you would brag about to friends and co-workers. I believe that the U. S. government should not step in to regulate this until they come out with the healthcare reform act to reduce the cost of medical treatments, insurance premiums and deductibles.
Until something is done to help those who are in need of assistance, the government should assist and provide information on reputable hospitals and doctors in foreign countries. If these physicians and hospitals were to pay the U. S. a premium for them to come in and certify their doctors and hospitals, I believe it would help out until we get our own country back on track with a health care system that is suitable and affordable for everyone.