Medicaid cutbacks may lead to more medical tourism

I was reading this article on Medicaid cutbacks when I noticed this part:

In Arizona, lawmakers stopped paying for some kinds of transplants, including livers for people with hepatitis C. When the cuts took effect Oct. 1, Medicaid patient Francisco Felix, who needs a liver, suddenly had to raise $500,000 to get a transplant.

The 32-year-old’s case took a dramatic turn in November when a friend’s wife died, and her liver became available. Felix was prepped for surgery in hopes financial donations would come in. When the money didn’t materialize, the liver went to someone else, and Felix went home. His doctor told him he has a year before he’ll be too sick for a transplant.

“They are taking away his opportunity to live,” said his wife, Flor Felix. “It’s impossible for us or any family to get that much money.” The family is collecting donations through a website and plans a yard sale this weekend, she said.

My first thought was, “Have they never heard of medical tourism?”

Now things are complicated with transplants, and maybe medical travel isn’t normally viable when it comes to transplants. I’m not pretending to know but I have to wonder if they investigated the possibility. I know it is possible at least some of the time. This guy went to India because $330,000 in America in 2007 was more than he could afford. He went to India and they did liver transplant surgery on him and his sister (she was the living donor) for $60,000:

I recently wrote about proton therapy and other things in Korea where you pay about half what you would in the US and I’m reminded of an old post that says:

In Canada medical tourism has stirred some controversy: there’s a company that arranges medical tourism visits in Pakistan and India. The company can “arrange a kidney transplant from a live donor for about $32,000 US.” The controversy, of course, comes from the “exploitation of the individuals in the Third World.” The counter argument is that one life is saved (the wealthier medical tourist) and another life is improved (the person selling their kidney escapes abject poverty).

Unfortunately the link to the news article on that controversy no longer works.

Comments on medical travel are welcome. Politics are not.

Filed Under: Medical tourism

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  1. Sharon says:

    I wonder if they considered finding a donor in Mexico. Many people from Texas, California, and across the Southwest go to Mexico where all types of surgery,dental care, and prescriptions are much less expensive. Guadalajara, for example, has some of the finest doctors in the world, and the care you receive is excellent.

  2. Erlend says:

    I support the people who option for medical tourisme 100%.

    The average Joe cannot afford a $500.000 transplant. Not to get political, but it’s sad that that is the only option someone have to stay alive.

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