My son recently had an appendectomy, cost for less than 24 hours in the hospital $33,000.00, a friend of ours had a hysterectomy recently, cost $220,000.00
Now health insurance largely needs to cover these costs, and these costs are high, but what if there were a plan which covered these procedures but for those which didn’t require immediate care, (like the above mentioned appendectomy), it was required that one engage in medical tourism to find a place to have the procedure done. One would have to believe that such a plan could offer significant savings.
A quick search on Orbitz, the online booking service, shows that you can get a first class flight from NYC to Bangalore India on one days notice for $12,314.70, meanwhile heart bypass surgery in India costs about $1,583.00 versus $106,385.00 in the U.S. (Bloomberg http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-07-28/heart-surgery-in-india-for-1-583-costs-106-385-in-u-s-.html). According to Wikipedia 50 countries have identified medical tourism as an industry.
So we screen the hospitals and offer materials describing them, then if a patient requires surgery which allows them to travel and can be done within 48 hours we give them a choice of half a dozen hospitals where they may have their procedure done. Then they can be flown there, heck even with one of their loved ones, at a significant savings.
Such a policy would make use of the broad range of global medical care while providing a real impetus for domestic care to contain costs.