By James Murray and cross-posted from WOLF STREET
An acquaintance of mine was walking around with a bandaged hand so I asked him what had happened. He was working and something slipped and he ended up with a nasty gash on the back of his hand. He went down to the local clinic and they put in 8 stitches. The total bill was $52.
Three years ago, I fell on a tile floor and broke my pelvis in 3 places. I was picked up by an ambulance, driven 40 miles to a private hospital where I spent 6 days and had a 5 hour surgery to repair the damage. They put in 3 pins, a plate, and 6 screws. The total bill was $22,000. I have no idea just how many stitches they put in, but the incision is 14″ long.
That was the total bill, no insurance.
However, I live in Mexico in a small town south of Guadalajara. I hate to even guess what the surgery would have cost me in the US.
When I came here a decade ago, people would disappear and the story would be that they went back to the US, because of health problems, to avail themselves of Medicaid/Medicare. However, now Americans are showing up here to get healthcare, especially dental, plastic surgery, and outpatient procedures. They can pay cash and still come out well ahead of paying deductibles in the US.
If you ask the medical profession in the US why there is such a difference in price, you generally get a “Well, Mexico is a 3rd-rate country with 3rd-rate medicine” answer. That is just not true. Medical care is as good in Mexico as in the US and in a lot of ways, better…
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