I used to joke that going into medicine was a safe bet for just about anyone, because it’s the one thing you’re not going to find outsourced. Well, it appears I was wrong. What worries me about this, though, is not issues like safety and standards – those do seem to be addressed, at least somewhat. What worries me is that this is an ‘out’ to the current state of medicine/health coverage in the United States, creating a system where there is no issue for those insured, or those who have the money to travel abroad not just for heart surgery but heart replacement, but a system where the gulf between “have” and “have-not” continues to grow. This doesn’t begin to address the under or un-insured, and furthers the rift between those who, even if they are not well off, are well enough off to afford these things, and those for whom $9,000 is an impossible amount of money.
In the growing divide between with money and poor in our country, we seem to focus on the services available (or not) to those on the with money side, and ignore those who don’t have it. It’s an almost Calvinist approach, assuming there is something morally wrong with those who can’t afford what we’ve deemed the basic necessities of life.
While it’s certainly not a bad thing that people without access to health plans or the finances to bankroll $50,000+ surgery, it’s not good that this is being seized as a possible option to ease American health insurance problems, because it doesn’t address a huge problem that exists: those with the dual problem of low income and no insurance.