High costs in U.S. are driving some patients to seek affordable plastic surgery in Argentina, and affordable gastric bypass and affordable cosmetic dentistry abroad, said John H., Director at GoSculptura, a company that sends dozens of patients each month abroad for specialized medical procedures.
Dismayed by high surgical costs in the U.S., increasing numbers of American patients are packing their bags to have necessary surgery performed in countries such as Argentina, India, Thailand, and Singapore.
According to Mark D. Smith, president and chief executive officer of the California HealthCare Foundation in Oakland, People are desperate. This illustrates the growing unaffordability of the U.S. health care system, even to people who are by no means indigent.
1) American Patients going abroad
John. H, Director at GoSculptura says there has been a 72% increase in the last 12 months in the number of American patients seeking care at the network of international clinics and Hospitals that Gosculptura covers. Patients are mostly looking for affordable plastic surgery in Argentina, affordable gastric bypass and affordable cosmetic dentistry treatment options.
Cost is a major factor - patients typically save upwards of 60% from the rates charged at U.S. hospitals. Mr John H. indicates a surge in volume from patients seeking treatments against morbid obesity (affordable gastric bypass & banding procedures): Treatments against obesity are not optional. Patients can die if they do not have access to these. Patients come to us as they are out of options in the U.S. Their country, their healthcare system leaves them on their own.
John. H also indicates that affordable fertility treatments (in-vitro fertilization, donor eggs and ICSI treatments) are very popular with many couples needing to go abroad to fix fertility issues and have children as costs are prohibitive in the U.S. Affordable cosmetic dentistry is also quite in demand.
2) Defamatory comments on Procedures abroad
Mr John H. highlights defamatory efforts undergone in the U.S. press, backed by medical U.S. associations to attempt to prevent American Patients to consider the option of going abroad.
American patients think carefully and make educated and informed decisions. They request consultations and carefully review the track record and board certifications of the surgeons we work with. They request to speak to former patients and ensure that after care is well orchestrated. These are well thought, educated and enlightened decisions. Patients understand that, by going abroad, they can access affordable plastic surgery in Argentina, affordable gastric bypass or affordable cosmetic dentistry without mortgaging their house.
3) Can U.S. Hospitals compete?
U.S. hospitals would have to reduce costs, improve efficiency, and increase quality. However, according to Mr. John H, a typical response to this growing offshore trend is to try to shut it down and pretend that quality and standard of cares are inferior abroad. The proper reaction would be a wake up call and an attempt to bring in line costs with what citizens can afford. This trend is only the beginning as it is clearly advantageous for patients to leave the U.S. healthcare system all together to access affordable gastric bypass, affordable plastic surgery in Argentina or affordable cosmetic dentistry treatments abroad.
All this paints a sad but realistic commentary on the state of the U.S. health care coverage and delivery system.
Perhaps the emerging sight of Middle America traveling thousands of miles for medical care will spur new attention to the need for universal coverage with adequate benefits in this country.
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