WIRED's affiliate Conde Naste Portfolio.com has up a column about off-shore surgical centers. These aren't podunk affairs, but state of the art and cheap, cheap, cheap. When I first heard of medical tourism, I didn't think anything of it. After all, how many people can afford to take both the time and effort, not to mention money, to go to Thailand or wherever for some elective surgery? The fact that it's cheaper there than here doesn't mean it's cheap.
But this column talks about insurance companies trying to convince patients to have their cardiac surgeries on the other side of the world. Yes, that's right: trying to convince. Speaking as a (hopefully) new nurse this summer, I am not happy to hear this, not at all. If this catches on, and there's no reason it shouldn't, what this means in the long term is that US healthcare will be confined to (a) preventive care, (b) emergency care, and (c) patients who are too [fill in undesirable quality] to go overseas.
This is more than an economic issue, however. Speaking as a man, I am not happy about having Americans go to get care in places where the old doctor=(dominant)man/nurse=(servile)woman standard holds, which is most of the hospitals in the Middle East and Southeast Asia where off-shore surgeries would take place.
It would be just my luck to enter nursing at a time when the profession started to back in time under the influence of the fundamentalist Muslim world. Perhaps St. Camillus would turn in his grave.