Medical tourism on the heels of Obamacare


Happy Thanksgiving to all of my American readers!  I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe holiday.

I’m home for a while, sort of.

After returning from Mexico this October, I’ll be spending the rest of the Fall/ Winter here in the United States while I replenish my writer’s budget by completing some travel assignments.  (Coming soon – to a hospital near you!)

Now that I am home, I have been catching up on all of the local news – and it looks like Obamacare hasn’t really kicked off to a wonderful start.  Of course, it was naive to think that anything SO large/ SO involved / Affecting some many people could go off without (several) hitches, but as one of the people losing their coverage because of it – I certainly understand all of the anxiety and worry out there.

In the midst of continuing coverage of the current Obamacare fiasco, as millions of Americans lose their existing health care, several new articles on medical tourism have been making headlines across the country.  Here’s a look at some of the latest news and reports from this past month.globe ribbon

In the Bay Area, NBC news‘ Elyce Kirchner, Jeremy Carroll and Kevin Nious published “Medical tourism: the future of healthcare?” along with a televised report. It’s the usual patient narrative along with an overview of medical tourism.

Kevin Gray, at the Men’s Journal talks about the domestic and international options available in his narrative, “Medical Tourism: Overseas and under the knife.”  Gray takes a slightly different approach and discusses how consumers can comparison shop for health care services.

Among these publications, is “Medical tourism: Spanning the globe for health care,” by Kent McDill which includes information from one of my publications and a recent interview published right here at Latin American Surgery.com

The sky’s the limit?

Also, in counterpoint to the numerous press releases and newspaper articles talking about Iran, Bermuda, and various other medical tourism destinations seeking to “cash in” on the phenomena, British researchers (Lunt et al.) have published a report that contradicts the “if you build it, they will come” philosophy which has taken over the industry in many quarters.

Medical News Today published a summary of their findings early this month.  Researchers also point out that much of the credible data required to provide a full and accurate picture regarding medical tourism is absent.

On a related note: While I talked about the limitations in medical tourism, accuracy of reported statistics and public perceptions in-depth during my 90 minute NPR interview, you wouldn’t really know it from my 2 sentence quote.

Pitfalls..

USA Today also published a story on some of the pitfalls for destinations with thriving medical tourism.  Kate Shuttleworth takes a look at the strain that Eastern European medical tourists have placed on some Israeli facilities.

Is medical tourism on the rise?  or is it all a spin of the numbers?  I guess it all depends on who you ask.. But for now – Obamacare is not a viable alternative to medical travel.

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