Guest contributor Jill Hodges is a Seattle-based writer and lead editor of a new book Risks and Challenges in Medical Tourism. This is the first of her two-part series examining the growth of this globalized health industry. Here’s the second, a focus on Panama.
By Jill Hodges
“Medical tourists” travel from the US to Central and South America for affordable treatments, from the UK to India for shorter waits, from Nigeria to Europe for decent quality services.
As frustration with the US health care system mounts, so do calls to outsource our health care.
The hope is that medical tourism can provide fixes not only for individual patients, but also for our health system—that US patients seeking less expensive bariatric surgery in Colombia or cancer treatments in Singapore could reduce our overall health care tab, and that global competition potentially could encourage greater efficiency in the US.
Medical tourism is, in one sense, a neglected facet of global health – one which could perhaps help achieve the goal of expanded access to care or, conversely, undermine basic public health in low- and middle-income countries. Continue reading