Health Care Essay Sample

Why Americans Aren’t Buying Medical Tourism

health-care-essay-sampleMedical tourism is becoming increasingly popular among Americans as economic globalization continues to not only shape the industrial landscape, but also the way we think. The turbulent state of the healthcare system in the United States is “fueling the movement to outsource medical treatment” (York, 2008, p. 99), as the resulting rising costs are unloaded on the patient.
Estimates of the number of Americans who travel overseas seeking medical services such as cosmetic surgery, dental procedures, and cardiac surgery range from 50,000 to 500,000 (Horowitz, 2007, p. 33; York, 2008, p. 99). Historically, those seeking medical treatment have done so by traveling to more developed countries; however, trends in medical tourism indicate that patients are traveling to such countries as India, Thailand, and Costa Rica for more affordable treatment (Horowitz, 2007, p. 33). Insurers, such as Aetna and Blue Shield of California, are taking note of the rising trend and are even beginning to provide reimbursement for certain treatments received out of the United States (York, 2008, p. 99). As the Obama Administration begins to restore diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba–a long time yearly destination for medical tourism for thousands from other countries–Americans may have access to more affordable healthcare only an hour’s flight away from Miami (Neuman, 2015).

health-care-essay-sampleDespite the growing popularity of medical tourism, many are to utilize this avenue of healthcare due to the risks associated with it. There is a belief that patients are more likely to be exposed to blood-borne infections due to improper and/or inadequate methods of collecting, screening and storing blood. Consequently, these patients may spread these infections to those in their home countries (Crooks et al., 2013, p. 1136). There is also believed to be an increased risk for these patients to suffer deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism as a result of long flights returning to their home countries post-surgery (Crooks et al., 2013, p. 1136). Finally, there is a concern regarding the quality of care available in facilities that accommodate medical tourists (Crooks et al., 2013, p. 1136).
Notwithstanding the rising cost of healthcare in the United States, many citizens are unwilling to overlook the very real risks associated with traveling for care; and are satisfied to continue their role in the dance between the provider, insurance company, and the patient. It soon may be; however, that as more insurance companies begin to support medical tourism–coupled with the turbulence of the U.S. healthcare system, Americans will find themselves becoming more dissatisfied with the current state of health affairs and, ultimately, seek treatment elsewhere.


York, D. (2008), Medical tourism: The trend toward outsourcing medical procedures to

foreign countries. J. Contin. Educ. Health Prof., 28: 99–102. doi: 10.1002/chp.


Neuman, W. (2015). Americans may see appeal of medical tourism in Cuba. Retrieved



Horowitz, M. (2007). Medical tourism: globalization of the healthcare marketplace.

MedGenMed., 9(4): 33.

Crooks, V., Turner, L., Cohen, I., Bristeir, J. et al. (2013) Ethical and legal implications of

the risks of medical tourism for patients: a qualitative study of Canadian health

and safety representatives’ perspectives. BMJ, 3:e002302 doi:10.1136/


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