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Medical care sought south of the border

For years hospitals in border cities like Detroit have provided medical care for Canadians who are seeking medical care which is not as widely available across the border to the North. While proponents of socialized medicine praise the increased access of medical care to more patients, they don’t discuss the extended wait times for certain procedures.

For example, Canadians may have to wait up to five years for bariatric procedures to combat obesity, according to a June report in the Canadian Journal of Surgery. Given the prolonged wait time, the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care in April designated 13 U.S. hospitals, including five in Michigan and one more with a tentative designation, to perform bariatric surgery for Canadians.

American moves towards socialized medical care


So while the discussion in America about medical care rages on, we should look north to Canada’s health system, which is publicly funded, and understand what could happen in the United States if the U.S. government takes over health care. According to Scott Hagerstrom, the state director in Michigan for Americans for Prosperity, "Their system doesn't work if they have to send us their patients."

And in a recent report by USA Today, we’re already seeing the effects of the new Affordable Care Act and how some patients who have received coverage for the first time may have insurance coverage, but they are not able to see a doctor and have decided to head south to Mexico for medical care.

Medical care in Mexico is nothing new. Patients form California, Arizona, Texas and New Mexico have long sought health care in border cities, but now that many of them have health insurance you’d expect that trend would decrease.

Patients claim, however, they will continue to go to Mexico for medical care despite having insurance. Why? The reasons are varied but include shorter wait times, limited costs, doctors who speak their language and doctors who are willing to spend more time with them.

Patients with Obamacare still head south for medical care


It’s interesting to note that even with Obamacare many of the newly insured patients argue their deductibles and out of pocket expenses will remain too high to see doctors in the United States for medical care. Some immigrants claim that Obamacare may work for emergencies, but for everything else it’s going to be cheaper to go south to Mexico.

Patients also claim in Mexico they can see a doctor in less than thirty minutes, they have better relationships with their doctors and they don’t have to rely on physician assistants, a practice which is becoming more common in the U.S. Patients also said their Mexican doctors are more willing to provide them with emotional support, something American doctors often do not have time to provide.

The great question remains: what about the quality of care? No one knows for sure and most experts claim the quality of medical care throughout Mexico can vary widely. But if you can’t see a doctor for months in the U.S., just like the Canadians, you find out it’s better to just head south.

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