Medical Tourism: Global Competition in Health Care

Health | International | Policy Reports

No. 304
Thursday, November 01, 2007
by Devon M. Herrick


The number of uninsured and self-pay patients traveling abroad for health care has grown rapidly over the past few years. This trend is likely to continue as medical care becomes more expensive or difficult to obtain in countries such as the United States where third-party payment is the norm. It is unrealistic to assume that every American will travel abroad for medical care. But it doesn't require huge numbers to induce change.  If only 10 percent of the top 50 low-risk treatments were performed abroad, the U.S. health care system would save about $1.4 billion annually. As more insured patients begin to travel abroad for low-cost medical procedures, medical tourism will result in competition that is sorely needed in the American health care industry.

NOTE: Nothing written here should be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of the National Center for Policy Analysis or as an attempt to aid or hinder the passage of any bill before Congress.

Read Article as PDF