You’ve been granted free access to this subscribers only article.
More Americans willing to cross borders for healthcare
Despite spending more than any other nation in the world on health care, Americans are increasingly willing to leave the country for medical treatment, polls suggest.
A Pew Research Center poll shows that only 15 percent of Americans believe the nation’s health-care system is the “best in the world.” Additionally, a Gallup poll found that 29 percent of American adults are willing to travel outside the United States for medical treatment.
“Our health-care system is one with competing interests -- financial profit versus health and well-being,” said J. Thomas Shaw, author of The RX Factor, a novel dramatizing what many see as a crisis in our health-care system. “Believe me, I am not advocating some sort of communist-based system, but I do think there is a sort of out-in-the-open conspiracy where true medical solutions are tossed aside in favor of lucrative prescriptions that treat only symptoms.”
One of the wealthiest people in the country, the late Steve Jobs, reportedly traveled outside the country for treatment after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The Gallup poll reveals nearly a quarter of Americans are willing to do the same specifically for cancer diagnosis and treatment. Experts attribute these high percentages to a steady increase in health-care costs and the rough estimate that nearly 48 million Americans remain uninsured, according to the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured.
“Contrary to myth, the United States does not have the world’s best health care,” said physician Timothy Shaw, no relation to J. Thomas Shaw, in a report by HealthReformWatch.com. “We’re No. 1 in health-care spending, but No. 50 in life expectancy, just before Albania.
In Japan, people live four years longer than Americans. Canadians live three years longer. Forty-three countries have better infant mortality rates.”
Uninsured Americans are more likely to seek treatment abroad than those with coverage -- 37 percent versus 22 percent, according to the 2009 Gallup poll.
“In a significant measure, the United States private health system has changed into ‘Big Business,’” said Timothy Shaw, recounting several experiences with fellow doctors. “In some measure the humanitarian emphasis has eroded.”
J. Thomas Shaw said the debate over health care has become a game of politics and money, leaving the “little guy” to suffer. But he remains optimistic that the nation can create a world-class system for all, referencing Thomas Jefferson’s appeal for “unalienable rights”: “And for the support of this declaration,” Jefferson writes, “... We mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.”
There are no “easy answers” to the problem of “Big Pharma,” said Shaw, referring to the nation’s most powerful pharmaceutical companies. “They are the entities funding most of the research, including that of universities. Research without the interests of ‘Big Money’ would be a good start, perhaps on a grass-roots level.”
Your Opinions and Comments
Be the first to comment on this story!
You must be logged in to post a comment.
Section A: General News Archives
Corner Store grand opening is set for July 2 (July 1, 2015)
Court Update (July 1, 2015)
Crouch Memorial Bull Riding (July 1, 2015)
Dan Patrick weighs in on same-sex marriage decision (July 1, 2015)
Disabled veteran license plates available for widows (July 1, 2015)
Does the EPA control your stock tank? (July 1, 2015)
East Central ISD decisions will save taxpayers millions (July 1, 2015)
Editorial: Changing the past to fundamentally transform America (July 1, 2015)
Editorial: Donald Trump tries to put his brand on GOP (July 1, 2015)
Editorial: Hillary and history: Best-known is not the same as best-qualified (July 1, 2015)
Event highlights seniors, vets, services July 17 (July 1, 2015)
FELPS aims to improve reliability systemwide (July 1, 2015)
Floresville ISD adopts $39M budget (July 1, 2015)
Floresville keeps city manager, 'extravaganza' (July 1, 2015)
Free July training for business owners (July 1, 2015)
Guadalupe deputies hunt fugitive after bar fight near Seguin (July 1, 2015)
H-E-B recalls burger buns (July 1, 2015)
La Vernia approves $26M-plus budget (July 1, 2015)
Letter: Frightened aging bones (July 1, 2015)
Meeting Watch: Falls City City Council (July 1, 2015)
Miles Svoboda earns saddle in chute dogging event (July 1, 2015)
New battalion commander recalls Floresville roots (July 1, 2015)
Nixon residents respond to shooting with prayer (July 1, 2015)
Parkside Homes wins planning and zoning approval (July 1, 2015)
Scam email: Pay up or die (July 1, 2015)
Skloss retires after four decades with Karnes Electric (July 1, 2015)
Tanker, tow truck crash on U.S. 181 (July 1, 2015)
Tour vintage aircraft at Stinson Municipal Airport (July 1, 2015)
Traps to avoid after graduation (July 1, 2015)