WHY IS MEDICAL TOURISM A SOLUTION FOR THE UNITED STATES, CANADA, AND THE UNITED KINGDOM?
At this moment the healthcare crisis in the U.S can be likened to a pressure cooker that is about to blow its top. The number of uninsured or underinsured Americans is close to Fifty million, and shows little sign of diminishing.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the elderly make up twenty-three percent of the major costs of U.S healthcare spending and each year more people are entering these age brackets as the baby boomers mature and get older.
It is projected that:
- The number of Americans aged 65 or over will double by 2050
- The number of people age 85 or over will quadruple by 2050
- By 2030 over half of U.S. adults will be over age 50
- The over 65 population will nearly triple as a result of the aging Boomers.
- More than six of every 10 Boomers will be managing more than one chronic condition.
Although Canada has an admirable healthcare system in many respects, many residents admit that there is a serious crisis brewing. Poor government funding has led to a notable lack of physicians, nurses, and state-of-the-art medical equipment. This, in addition to the long waiting times for many surgical procedures, has created unrest and an urgent call for healthcare reform.
According to a 2007 article in the Christian Science Monitor, Britain's Department of Health reported that at any given time, nearly 900,000 Britons are waiting for admission to National Health Service hospitals, and shortages force the cancellation of more than 50,000 operations each year.
In each of these cases the government has failed to adequately meet the basic healthcare needs of many of its citizens. As baby boomers age and the current healthcare system is stretched to the breaking point, expect individuals and businesses to look at new ways of regaining control of their healthcare. The medical tourism phenomenon is a natural outgrowth of these conditions – an outlet if you will, for people trapped by an unwieldy system that offers little hope for a better tomorrow.
Long wait times for certain procedures is also a big factor for residents of Canada and other countries with socialized medicine, and is effectively forcing people to look for other options, including medical tourism. Wait times of a year or more are quite common in Canada and England. Contrast this with “wait times” of weeks or even days at many medical tourism destinations.