There is a new phenomenon emerging — medical tourism. Discouraged by the prohibitive costs at home, many people opt to travel to foreign lands for medical treatment. A number of developing countries seek to capitalize on this by offering first—rate care at an appreciably lower price. Employers and insurers have already taken notice and are starting to devise programs encouraging this trend. According to an article in Time magazine
some pioneering U.S. corporations, swamped by rising health—care costs, are taking a serious look at medical outsourcing. Blue Ridge Paper Products of Canton, N.C., a manufacturing company, may soon offer employees outsourcing as a health—care option. The carrot? The patient would get to pocket some of the firm's substantial savings.
This will naturally place increasing competitive pressures on US health providers and force them to think hard about ways of curbing runaway medical costs.
Healthcare is another area where globalization is slowly beginning to work its magic. Forcing producers to shed slack and inefficiency, it delivers the products consumers want at the lowest price. The challenges this country faces in the area of medical care are difficult and complex, but an injection of free—market medicine is certainly a healthy development.
Vasko Kohlmayer 5 25 06