Record numbers go abroad for health treatment with 70,000 escaping NHS
Record numbers of Britons are travelling abroad for medical treatment to escape the NHS - with 70,000 patients expected to fly out this year.Ezra Klein gives us the other half of the story, the British health tourists have a place to go because of even more Americans are escaping the high cost of the US private health system.
And by the end of the decade 200,000 "health tourists" will fly as far as Malaysa and South Africa for major surgery to avoid long waiting lists and the rising threat of superbugs, according to a new report.
Of course, Britain spends 41 percent what we do per capita -- and no one thinks Blair made up that shortfall, or anything close to it. So detractors are probably best served by not making funding the issue. I wouldn't have thought, however, that they'd try to move over to medical tourism as a point of comparison. But we can have that discussion. We can talk about the 50,000 Americans who go to Bumrungrad hospital in Thailand every year for cheaper surgeries. We can go into this article, about the Indian hospitals primarily serving Americans, or this one, about the waves of Americans traveling abroad because they're unable to afford heart surgery. Indeed, there are more Americans -- 100,000 -- traveling abroad for cosmetic surgery alone than there are Britons seeking any type of services in foreign lands.Now you have the entire story.
America is actually driving the medical tourism industry that some Britons are taking advantage of. The growth of foreign treatment centers aren't a result of the failings of the British health care system (of which there are many). They're a result of the cost of American health care, and the huge numbers of sick individuals we price out. You'd think, paying two-and-a-half times what the Brits do for health care, that we could all access care, and wouldn't need to fly to India. But you'd be wrong. The Brits also have a bad health care system, but theirs is, on the bright side, very, very cheap. Ours isn't.