Globalization of Health Care
1. What are the facilitating developments that have allowed health care to start globalizing?
a) Health care in the U.S. is becoming more expensive. The decline in barriers of free flow of health care services /capital has facilitated and allowed health care to start globalizing. The cost of medical services in other countries (i.e., Mexico, India, and Singapore) generally runs from 20-35% of cost for the same procedure in the United States. Many people find it far cheaper to fly abroad to get treatment versus the high cost of medical care in the United States.
Furthermore, over 45 million Americans are uninsured and many more are “underinsured” and face high copayments for expensive procedures.
b) The quality of care in other countries is often comparable to what they would receive in the U.S.; new hospitals, ...view middle of the document...
The rapid growth of the Internet has been a major force facilitating and allowing hospitals in the U.S. to send images (i.e., X-rays, Ct scans, MRI scans, and ultrasounds) over the internet to doctors overseas specialized in reading/interpreting diagnostic medical images. This reduces the workload on medical specialists in the U.S., cuts costs, and is effectively faster (compresses the time because of the time difference between USA and India or Singapore, for example).
2. Who benefits from the globalization of health care? Who are the losers?
The globalization of health care creates opportunities for health care providers in other countries to grow their business, for U.S. insurance companies to lower their costs by agreeing to pay for treatment in accredited hospital overseas, and for health brokers in the U.S.A. who make money arranging for U.S. citizens to have treatment overseas, and for health care consumers.
Those who do not benefit from the globalization healthcare are American hospitals and doctors who loose out on the money from patients seeking cheaper care in other countries.
3. Are there any risks associated with the globalization of health care? Can these risks be mitigated? How?
The proliferation of medical tourism companies due to increasing number of patients might lead to low competence and improper follow up care of health care providers.
Government agencies in nations from which patients depart for care abroad can use legislative powers, accreditation, regulation and oversight mechanisms to impose standards on local businesses that arrange medical procedures at international health-care facilities in order to increase quality in health.
4. On balance, do you think that the globalization of health care is a good thing or not?
Health is not the same as other basic goods; linked to health care are many complex ethical, cultural, and human resource issues.
But health is a global human right and globalization of health care is for the benefit of all the people around the world.