A Modest Medical Proposal: Fly To India

Millions of Americans are on the edge of “medical bankruptcy.” Yes, this is a thing (I live in Canada…never occurred to me that this could be possible). It means that medical care in America is so expensive that people often have to choose between their life savings and a life-saving operation. This gets combined with a relative sinking of U.S. income levels for most of the population.

The income crises, BTW, has been gathering speed for decades: the Pew Research Centre says that in 1970 the upper class had an income level six times higher than the lower class; today that gap has risen to seven times above the lower class.

In the same period, healthcare costs in the U.S. tripled, and now consume 18% of gross domestic product. It’s spending twice the amount per person on healthcare, and for that money it’s getting one of the worst healthcare results in the world: the U.S. has the lowest life expectancy among the 11 nations of the OECD.

Something structural needs to change. I’m not talking about a politician’s roundtable on “re-imagining healthcare”, with its assorted platitudes, but on a real measure that can be taken today…one that does not need any changes in state or federal laws — because we would just act. We would not ask for change.

How do we act?

Move your medical operation to India. Or Pakistan, or Malaysia, or the Philippines…anywhere in the developing world where good healthcare exists.

Give you an example: one gentleman’s 71-year-old mother had a heart complaint while she was visiting her son in the U.S. The estimated cost of treatment in the U.S. would have been $47,000. Back in Bangalore, the cost came in at $4,300. You can hear the plane on the runway now…

One-tenth of the cost!

The air fare is about $1,000. Call it a total of $5,300.

A savings of $42,000. For healthcare that is superb, in any of those countries.

Yes, no doubt this would leave many doctors underemployed, unable to afford their third car or their hobby airplane. Poor babies.

We could get a decent non-profit organization making these arrangements in the immediate future, when the COVID travel restrictions give us a period of time for planning and comparison, before the vaccination programs unlock global travel again.

I know this would work, personally. I once did a round-the-world medical workshop on medical care in the Commonwealth countries: started in Toronto, went to Australia, India, the U.K., and back to Canada. It took 24 hours, but the panels came up with a good plan to coordinate treatments and save people a bundle. It went no-where after that, because 9/11 happened. All eyes snapped towards the U.S. as its phase of endless war-against-random-peoples began.

In fact, on another note, the $2-trillion that America has now admitted it wasted in fighting a war in Afghanistan could have funding universal health care in the ‘States forever, but let’s focus on actions that don’t require governments.

Actions you can take, by yourself, for yourself.

Give it another six months for COVID to peter out, and we could end America’s healthcare problem…by literally leaving it behind. Goodbye LAX!

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Barry Gander

I'm a Canadian from Connecticut, so 2 strikes against me. I'm a top writer in 5 fields, & I love finding the Meaning under the passing headlines.