MEDICAL TOURISM….Andrew Sullivan is being properly chastised for claiming that the rise of medical tourism is somehow an indictment of Britain’s national healthcare system, since, in fact, the U.S. is a bigger user of medical tourism than Britain. Here’s an outfit, for example, that offers you the choice of having your major medical operation performed in Brazil, Thailand, India, Malaysia, South Africa, or Argentina. “MedRetreat was created to fill a very important and personal void in the US healthcare market,” they burble. “It all began when our co-founder’s mother was searching for affordable, quality elective medical procedures, not covered by her insurance company. After getting numerous quotes ranging from $20,000 to $30,000, she knew there had to be a more viable option.”

I began reading about medical tourism quite a few years ago, and immediately became fascinated. Here’s a typical puff piece from 60 Minutes a couple of years ago. I figure it’s more likely than not that eventually I’ll need heart surgery of some kind or another, and getting it done in India sounds splendid. Dirt cheap, private room, world class facilities, attentive nurses, and after my valves are back up and running there’s a bonus week for roaming around and visiting the Taj Mahal. Almost makes me want to have a couple of Big Macs for lunch just to help things along.

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