Thursday, November 01, 2007

America's health care adventures

by shamanic

Early in the week, I wrote a piece on this Daily Mail article from England about the apparent catastrophe of 70,000 Britons going abroad for health care. Right blogtopia also ran with the story, as yet another indicator of the hell that universal health care is.

I direct my Righty friends to this 2006 ABC News article about American medical tourism, which notes that some "100,000 Americans a year travel beyond the border for cosmetic procedures alone." (Emphasis mine) 50,000 Americans visited a single Thai hospital.

What fascinates me about this information, and the universal health care debate in America generally, is that we already ration health care in the states. Taking a different approach than those socialist hells like Canada, Germany, and England, we ration ours by income by generally tying insurance to employment. (The old American, "If you don't work, you don't eat" philosophy.)

I just priced round trip airfare from Atlanta to Bangkok, Thailand, for the end of January and the lowest rate was $1100. In other words, what's hinky about this is that it isn't poor people taking these trips, it's people with enough money to choose expensive American procedures or cheaper Asian ones. Many of these people are likely insured.

So someone should explain the difference between an American with (at least some) money going abroad for lower prices or a Briton with (at least some) money going abroad to have something done more cheaply or more quickly. I guess I don't really see the difference, but at least in the English system, everyone can get basic and emergency medical treatment without going bankrupt.

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