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1. What are the facilitating developments that have allowed health care to start globalizing?
- Health care and health insurance in the U.S. is becoming ever more expensive
- Educational opportunities in the medical field are expanding for people from other countries
- Travel is relatively inexpensive and very fast
- Communications technologies allow information to be shared almost instantly around the world
2. Who benefits from the globalization of health care? Who are the losers?
Patients who are uninsured or underinsured definitely benefit because they can potentially avoid crippling medical bills for the care they need. Insurance companies may also benefit due to not having to pay such large amounts for domestic procedures. The countries where patients are going to have procedures done are also benefiting through larger numbers of highly educated people and the additional influx of money the medical tourists bring in. I guess the losers would be the hospitals and doctors that would otherwise be performing these procedures at domestic facilities.
3. Are there any risks associated with the globalization of health care? Can these risks be mitigated? How?
One risk, or uncertainty, would be the level of care patients would receive abroad. However, we're talking about established medical practitioners doing the work in new, possibly private facilities - not some back alley doctor in a third world country who can take care of you "for cheap". Standards of care will be followed, and I would think that generally patients would not have to worry. There may also be communication barriers between patient and doctor when care is sought in a foreign country. However, this risk is most likely diminishing due to prevalence of English worldwide and also the fact that so many doctors around the world receive their education in the U.S.
4. On balance, do you think that the globalization of health care is a good thing, or not?
Competition in any industry is generally a...
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