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International rates are very low compared to what is paid in the United States,

Europe, or Australia. In some cases, the savings from dental work alone

can give people extra money for a luxury vacation.

 

 

The Very Idea: Stem Cell Research

 By Ben Schwartz

Who Shall Live and Who Shall Die? Would you like to know? So Would I.

It’s A Question of Money!

THE MEDICAL BOTTOM LINE—WHAT DOES IT COST AND WHERE?

 

The Honest Answer

The Medical Industry has in its hands the most valuable product in the world—life. Stem-cell research and bio-chemistry have elixirs which  presently will prolong life. However, these products are wrapped in secrecy and legal impediments to their use in the United States. The answer is easy. Patients must be treated in countries outside the U.S. It is our mission to provide affordable medical treatment and patient care by taking advantage of medical care in countries outside the U.S. and by providing a clear understandable cost to the patient.

Glasnost

“Glasnost” or clear and open information is the essence of our company.

Open-up, let’s see it, let’s know the bottom-line. What is possible. Tell us the risk, and let us determine if we wish to take it. The F.D.A. does not have a cure for cancer, and is close to death. It is a bureaucratic institution run by pettifoggers who are fearful of making a decision. They are not facing life or death! They are only facing negligence suits, and pink slips.

Ignorance Is Not Bliss

Do you know what a hospital bed cost per day. Do you know what a cardiogram, or an x-ray of your chest cost? Do you know what a nurse cost at your local hospital? Do you know what medicines vital to your health and well-being are waiting for F.D.A. approval? Do you know what arcane negligence laws inflate medical treatment for you in the U.S.? Don’t you think its time that you could contact a consultant who knows the answers and can advise you?

Solution to Excessive Medical Cost

As you know, medical procedure prices are extremely high in the United States. As an alternative to high U.S. prices, we have medical and dental provider locations in more than twenty countries. Until the last few years, people looked at countries outside the U.S. and its hospitals as inferior imitations of those in developed countries. Western expatriates as well as wealthier Third World "natives," having very little trust in local hospitals or doctors, would fly to the United States for something as simple as an executive check-up.

In the past 30 years, the costs of health care have soared in developed countries, especially in the United States. Due to rapidly escalating health care costs, Americans, Europeans, Canadians and Australians in ever increasing numbers began to search for alternatives that could reduce their personal out of pocket medical expenses. In the last few years, millions of people from developed nations have chosen to become Medical Tourists.

The Bottom Line

Need a coronary bypass surgery that costs more than $150,000 in the U.S.? Simply pack your bags. Take a vacation, and pay $6,500. Need an elective Caesarean section? That's about $1,000 including a four day hospital stay in a private room. How about a breast augmentation with smooth saline implants? Breast implants will cost you $2,000. If you are willing to travel, the list of more affordable medical procedures is seemingly endless: cardiac surgery, orthopedic surgery, weight loss procedures, cancer treatments, cosmetic surgery, general surgery, medications, infertility treatments, dental, glasses, stress reduction programs, neurosurgery, laparoscopic procedures, sex reassignment surgery, experimental treatments and so much more.

International rates are very low compared to what is paid in the United States, Europe, or Australia. In some cases, the savings from dental work alone can give people extra money for a luxury vacation. For example, a family can take an expensive, four-star, luxury vacation in a Mexican Oceanside Villa and pay for the trip with the savings they receive on getting their glasses, medications and dental work from local providers. Medical Tourism can certainly be a win-win proposition.

While taking care of health needs at deep discounts, shopping excursions, river tours, sight-seeing, nature excursions, intellectual pursuits, religious pilgrimages, cruises, ancient site tours, safari’s, hunting or fishing trips and trips to nearby beaches can all be arranged around a medical appointment schedule. Medical Tourism is a simple concept: people can combine medical treatments with vacations, and use the savings on the medical care to pay for the vacation.

The Skeptic

As with everything, there is one major drawback. Although most Americans have gone to a physician in the U.S. with international training, the majority of Americans remain very skeptical about traveling to other countries for their medical care. Logic mandates that there are international hospitals and health care professionals that can match those in the United States. Thus, the key is weeding through thousands of potential sources for international medical care and finding the “right” clinical provider, location, and overall travel package.

Affordable Medical Care

We help consumers find international sources of U.S. equivalent medical care at affordable prices. We evaluate health care providers on five criteria: (1) the locations’ current geo-political issues, safety, security and weather; (2) the cost of services performed including the cost of transportation, food and lodging; (3) the convenience for the patient; (4) the quality standards as set and evaluated by an objective third party, and finally, (5) the local tourist and vacation attractions.

Medical Tourism is not for everyone, but it is a viable option for people who can not afford the high costs of health care in the United States.

Medical Tourism

(Medical tourism is the act of traveling to other countries to obtain medical, dental, and surgical care.)

A combination of many factors has lead to the recent increase in popularity of medical tourism: exorbitant costs of healthcare in the industrialized nations, ease and affordability of international travel, favorable currency exchange rates in the global economy, rapidly improving technology and standards of care in many countries of the world.

Medical tourists are generally residents of the industrialized nations of the world and primarily come from the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Western Europe, Australia and the Middle East. Currently medical tourists are traveling in large numbers to South and Southeast Asia, South America, and North Africa although other places are beginning to tailor services aimed specifically at medical tourists as well.

Rising popularity of medical tourism reveals deterioration of U.S. healthcare system

Defenders of organized medicine are fond of saying that the United States has the best healthcare in the world, but that idea can now be challenged. Many Americans no longer believe we have the best healthcare in the world, but few Americans doubt that healthcare in the U.S. is the most expensive in the world. In fact, in terms of results for dollars spent, the United States certainly ranks very near the bottom of the list of all industrialized nations. The U.S. gets far less actual healthcare than anyone else for each dollar spent.

This realization is now hitting the general public, and they are increasingly leaving this country to find offshore locations and assess quality medical care and surgical procedures elsewhere. This phenomenon is called "medical tourism." In medical tourism, patients who might normally undergo some sort of medical procedure in the United States, usually a costly surgical procedure, instead fly to the Mexico, India, or other countries to have the procedures done there.

As a result of traveling outside the U.S. for medical care, Americans save an enormous amount of money. Offshore medical procedures can be performed for as little as one-tenth the cost of what would normally be charged here in the United States. And yet the facilities offshore are state of the art. These are modern hospitals that often are newer and have much better technology and equipment than hospitals in the United States. They are typically staffed by Western doctors and surgeons trained in Western medicine, and they provide equal or greater quality surgical care than U.S. hospitals. These surgical procedures are performed with the same technology and expertise, yet cost a fraction of the price.

Real Examples

For example, a knee replacement surgery in a high-tech hospital in India performed by Western trained surgeons might only cost you $7,000. Here in the United States you're probably looking at $60,000. Heart by pass in Asia costs around $10,000. In the US, it's $100,000. Gastric bypass surgery in the U.S. can cost $30,000. Overseas it can be done for well under $6,000.

The Economics of Healthcare

So where do the cost savings come from? How come these hospitals offshore can offer these services at much lower prices? The answer lies in the economics of healthcare in the United States and the amount of fraud and waste that is present in the U.S. healthcare system. According to many physicians as much as 80% of all healthcare dollars go through their office and covers nothing but paperwork.

The Paperwork Nightmare

Many workers in the health care industry are basically getting paid to shuffle paper around. The health insurance companies are paid to deny health claims and the government workers at Medicare and Medicaid offices are paid to find new ways to deny payments to doctors and hospitals for services rendered. Thus, doctors' offices and hospitals have to employ people to reclassify procedures in ways that can get paid by insurance companies, Medicare, and Medicaid. It's a massive waste of time, money, and effort.

In the U.S. healthcare system, it's a paperwork nightmare. And there is a paperwork war taking place. All of this is a result of antiquated health insurance systems, both taxpayer-funded health insurance and private health insurance. In other words, things would be a lot simpler if people just price-shopped some of these procedures and paid out of their own pocket, rather than having to go through a monstrous bureaucratic system of paper shufflers.

As a medical tourist in another country, an American can eliminate paperwork shufflers and save as much as 80%. As a medical tourist the dollars are actually going to the surgeons, anesthesiologists, and other hospital workers who are attending to you during your surgical procedure. Whereas in the United States, your money is going to the insurance company and then the insurance company money is being used to pay administrative staff.

Another reason these surgical procedures are so much more affordable in Asia and Mexico is because of the liability issue. In the United States, doctors and hospitals must carry extremely expensive medical malpractice insurance policies. And patients seem to love to sue in the United States.

In contrast, when you undergo a surgical procedure as a medical tourist in an offshore hospital, you sign paperwork that says you agree not to sue under certain conditions. Thus, you save a fortune by essentially not funding the legal fees, settlements and malpractice insurance costs normally found in a U.S.-based healthcare practice.

When you combine these two savings - the administrative paperwork shuffling reduction and the medical malpractice lawsuits - and you get an incredible deal for your dollar.

Some people might ask, "What if something goes wrong during the surgery?" Well, here you have the reputation of the hospital and the surgeon at stake. They know that they must offer you outstanding, high-quality service. Otherwise, word will spread via the internet and elsewhere, and tourists won't come visit their hospital.

Medical tourism hospitals in India and other countries actually have to meet a higher standard, because they know there's more on the line. They have to give you such a high-quality experience with such outstanding results that you go back home to the United States and tell 20 people. Because when you do that, they know they're going to get more customers, and this is great word of mouth marketing for that hospital.

They're going to do their absolute best to make sure that you have a wonderful experience. Whereas in the United States, that incentive is not in place. Many hospitals realize they won't be paid much for your procedure because of all the paperwork shuffling and the late payments by insurance companies and Medicare.

So they have no incentive to have more patients come in with low-quality insurance. And besides, they've probably got patients coming in through the door every single day anyway, so there's really no incentive to give you an outstanding, positive experience. At least it's not the same incentive offered by these outsourced, offshore medical facilities that base their very existence on reputation and word of mouth.  

Reality Check

All this doesn't mean something can't go wrong. Things can go wrong, but they can go wrong anywhere. Something like one percent of all people undergoing gastric bypass surgery die on the operating table. That's going to happen in any country, anywhere you are. And whether or not there's medical insurance and malpractice insurance in effect at the time of your surgery doesn't affect your outcome. All it does is it gives people a chance to sue when they don't get the outcome they want.

But getting back to the popularity of medical tourism, we're seeing this come on with strong momentum right now. More and more people are taking this option. They're booking tickets, going online to learn more about these hospitals, and opting to have these surgical procedures done overseas.

Bad News for U.S.

This is very bad news for the U.S. healthcare industry, because for a long time, healthcare was an industry that people thought could be protected here in the United States. As jobs were lost overseas in the Information Technology, accounting and technical support industries, people thought, "Well, that's manageable, but no one will go overseas to have medical care." It turns out they were wrong. People will go overseas to get better medical care or a better value on surgical procedures, and the popularity of medical tourism is proving that.

What it could mean long term is a further deterioration of the U.S. healthcare system. If healthcare becomes so expensive in this country that it's by far cheaper to buy an international plane ticket and get some medical procedure done overseas, then more and more people are going to take that option and go overseas.

A Win-Win Situation

So in addition to exporting so many jobs from the IT industry, we will actually be exporting healthcare revenues to countries around the world. And these are substantial revenues; we're talking about billions of dollars at stake. In fact, many of these Asian countries are counting on this revenue as an increasingly important part of their Gross Domestic Product.

Some of these countries are saying tourism is big and medical tourism is going to be big. And they're putting a lot of money into building state-of-the-art infrastructure and engaging in marketing to attract more medical tourists.

It's a very big deal to these countries. They see the opportunity and they see the U.S. healthcare system stumbling. Meanwhile, Americans are getting more diseased than ever before, so there's an instant customer base for hospitals around the world who can offer quality care at a better price.

Corruption . . . Same OL, Same OL

The U.S., for its part, tends to be rather protectionist about all of this. We've seen, for example, the FDA seizing the importation of perfectly legal prescription drugs because it doesn't want lower cost drugs to come into this country. It wants to protect the U.S. pharmaceutical industry and make sure that customers have to buy prescription drugs here in the United States at very high monopoly prices. That's a protectionist philosophy that goes against every free market economic principle we've known to be true in this world.

Similarly, the FDA wants to regulate and even outlaw most nutritional supplements and medicinal herbs. That's once again a protectionist strategy to protect the profits of the pharmaceutical industry. I wouldn't be surprised if sooner or later someone in organized medicine argues that outsourcing our offshore surgical procedures is hurting the U.S. economy, and they might try to pass a law that makes it illegal to go overseas to get surgery. There have already been many attempts to arrest people traveling to anti-cancer clinics in Mexico, or to seize their medical herbs as they come back across the border.

Join the Revolution

There is a Gestapo-like effort out there to try to shut down anything that tries to compete with the overpriced, ineffective U.S. healthcare system. And as medical tourism becomes more popular, Americans will see the American Medical Association, hospital associations and maybe even the FDA up in arms, complaining about the loss of revenue to U.S. companies. Big medicine is big business, and organized medicine hates "real" competition. When uninsured Americans find out about medical tourism, they're going to get information on the internet, make informed decisions, go overseas and get high-quality care at a fraction of the price, and these medical pioneers are going to come back to the U.S. and spread the word.

Living in a Global Economy

We now live in a global economy. We must be able to compete globally, and if we cannot compete globally and have a more efficient healthcare system that eliminates the fraud waste and the paperwork waste, and if we do not have a more efficient tax system such as the flat tax, we're going to pay the price in this country. In terms of healthcare, people are going to go somewhere else to get it. People are going to go somewhere else to buy their prescription drugs.

If America wants to have a healthcare system that works in this country, it needs to be more efficient. The system needs to get rid of the paperwork, the fraud and the waste, and have a system that offers medical procedures at a fair and affordable price. As it was in the past, people around the world should still be coming to the United States to get their surgeries done, but they aren't coming here anymore.

America no longer has the best healthcare system in the world. It was true 20 years ago, but today Americans are leaving the U.S. to have their surgeries done in Asia, and the trend will become even more pronounced as the price differential continues to climb.

posted 23 June 2006 

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AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books


 

Fiction

#1 - Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark
#2 - Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree
#3 - Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane
#4 - Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper
#5 - Stackin' Paper 2 Genesis' Payback by Joy King
#6 - Thug Lovin' (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark
#7 - When I Get Where I'm Going by Cheryl Robinson
#8 - Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 - Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 - Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 - Don't Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 - For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 - For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 - Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 - Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 - Purple Panties: An Eroticanoir.com Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 - Stackin' Paper by Joy King

#20 - Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 - The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 - Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 - Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 - I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter

Non-fiction

#1 - Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
#2 - Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans
#3 - Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane
#4 - Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper
#5 - Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant
#6 - Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey
#7 - The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight
#8 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
#9 - The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 - Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 - Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can't Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 - Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 - Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 - Age Ain't Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 - 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino
#23 - Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Tom Lagana
#24 - 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

By Melissa V. Harris-Perry

According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel.  The selfless Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.     

Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.

As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.

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1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created

By Charles C. Mann

I’m a big fan of Charles Mann’s previous book 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, in which he provides a sweeping and provocative examination of North and South America prior to the arrival of Christopher Columbus. It’s exhaustively researched but so wonderfully written that it’s anything but exhausting to read. With his follow-up, 1493, Mann has taken it to a new, truly global level. Building on the groundbreaking work of Alfred Crosby (author of The Columbian Exchange and, I’m proud to say, a fellow Nantucketer), Mann has written nothing less than the story of our world: how a planet of what were once several autonomous continents is quickly becoming a single, “globalized” entity.

Mann not only talked to countless scientists and researchers; he visited the places he writes about, and as a consequence, the book has a marvelously wide-ranging yet personal feel as we follow Mann from one far-flung corner of the world to the next. And always, the prose is masterful. In telling the improbable story of how Spanish and Chinese cultures collided in the Philippines in the sixteenth century, he takes us to the island of Mindoro whose “southern coast consists of a number of small bays, one next to another like tooth marks in an apple.” We learn how the spread of malaria, the potato, tobacco, guano, rubber plants, and sugar cane have disrupted and convulsed the planet and will continue to do so until we are finally living on one integrated or at least close-to-integrated Earth. Whether or not the human instigators of all this remarkable change will survive the process they helped to initiate more than five hundred years ago remains, Mann suggests in this monumental and revelatory book, an open question.

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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update 15 February 2012

 

 

 

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Related files: Letters on Africa from Ben Schwartz    Glory Days – Sahara Nights