I once had a minor medical procedure done in Mexico. The doc wanted to be paid in cash, and I obliged. Then I asked for a receipt. What followed was Keystone Cops. It took a while for me to realize I was being stupid. By asking for a receipt in the double economy of Mexico I was asking the doc to sign a confession to the tax police. He was right, I was wrong, and I learned something about the underground economy in socialized medicine.
Welcome to Mexico, friends, where the people are warm and wonderful, the drug gangs ruthless (but mostly gun for each other), and the medical profession is a sign of things to come in the US of A. Rich people get pretty good medical care in Mexico. Poor people? So-so to dreadful. Same thing in Italy, and most of the Left-dominated world. Want to get pretty good medical care in Russia? How many dollars you got?
The trouble with socialized medicine is that it corrupts the doctors. They start living a double life. So do the patients. And irony of ironies, it doesn't hurt the rich one little bit.
If ObamaCare is given the bum's rush through Congress in the next couple of weeks, first thing I'm going to do is check out medical travel. Hong Kong has first-rate hospitals, inspected and rated by the British Health Authority. Israel has more qualified doctors per square inch than New York City. Taiwan, Singapore, the big cities in India, Thailand, the Philippines. Eastern Europe is heading that way. If they provide excellent care at lower cost than the US, it can only grow. Nobody in Congress has repealed the laws of supply and demand. Want to build a great new business? Go into the medical travel game. Guarantee your clients only the best and most highly accredited doctors and hospitals in the world. Sell them medical and travel insurance. And tie it in with sunny retirement communities for Boomers. It will be a Gold Rush.
Insurance companies can undersell any US government monopoly, just by sending their patients to high-quality hospitals abroad. The United States may lose General Motors, but we'll get International Blue Cross instead. And do you have any idea how much you can do diagnostically these days over the web? Your highly qualified offshore doc can just send you the testing kit, you send it back, and have long, cozy conversations over the free VoIP service. In five years we'll have EKGs plugged into your home computer to be read by Indian doctors in Hyderabad. Virtual microsurgery is in the cards. Computing is going to keep getting cheaper, the web will get faster and more interactive, and you'll be able to do some virtual medical travel without moving from home. Indian psychiatrists are so comforting, and they will talk with you for hours for $9.95, special rate just for you.
Obama and the Democrats will try to stop you -- but they will take advantage of medical travel themselves, of course. The Left will raise your US taxes whether you use ObamaCare or not -- and no, the tax increases won't be limited to the upper five percent. Everybody will pay more, either in money or rationing of health care.
It will be a huge incentive for older Americans to retire abroad, and that could be a gigantic favor for developing countries. You can love this country from afar, and hope that when things get bad enough, some of the voters will wake up. It could take a while if LeftiMed gets passed next week at some midnight session between Nancy and Harry Reid.
So when every American doctor's income is capped by price controls, when the paperwork is coming out of their ears, when their workload is up and their income is down --- just let them know you'll pay cash.
And don't ask for a receipt.
Hasta la vista, baby.
I'm off to Costa Rica!