Greed, commerce, Underpaid Docs: N.Y. Times readers on medical tourism

CHCNytMedicalTourismThe poster child for medical tourism in Libby Rosenthal’s excellent New York Times piece on people traveling out of the U.S. for medical care is a man who needed a hip replacement that his insurance wouldn’t cover. He had a choice: pay $65,000 for surgery in the U.S, or $13,660 in Belgium, from soup to nuts. Guess which one he chose.

“As a French man living in the US I do not consider getting surgery in this country. I always considered the cost of healthcare to be inflated by the enormous amount of greed that exists here at all levels. Everything is made to suck up every dollar from the weakest people. Mark my words, boomers will have to spend their last dollars on their health care and will have nothing left to pass onto their family.” Anonymous, from the comment thread on Elisabeth Rosenthal’s New York times article, For Medical Tourists, Simple Math – NYTimes.com.

“The headline of this article is entirely misleading. I am an orthopedic surgeon in private practice at a “top ten” hospital in Massachusetts and I am paid approximately $1,400 for a hip replacement, including the 90 day followup “global period”. This is less than what Americans routinely pay for a fender bender. The hospital, of course , may get reimbursed upwards to $30,000 for total hips or total knees. Residents of New York and other overpriced medical metropolises should try medical tourism to less expensive excellent community hospitals.” Lawrence Johnson, on the same comment thread.

“I’m truly sick and tired of the U.S. commercial mentality, where the mantra of the ‘market’ seems to rule every aspect of our lives whether it’s paying for telephone services, groceries, banking and financial services, insurance, and now medical treatment. People get sick and need medical care, and our healthcare system is designed to screw the public and enrich healthcare providers and suppliers to the utmost extent, patients be damned. I would go abroad for healthcare in a heartbeat.” Anonymous

“After undergoing major surgery here in the US and seeing the cost/price of it compared to the quality I would next time consider going back to Europe (where I was born and went to Medical School). I would discuss this with my insurance and show them that they would safe money.” UB

“I would happily travel out of the united states to circumvent the blatant price-gouging that goes on here.” Tom