Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Health Care in Asia 

Had dinner this evening with Robert and his wife. Robert was a colleague of mine at the Software College when I first came to China. I can't remember what brought it up, but we got into a conversation about health care. We were comparing health care in Hong Kong, China, and the US. The thing I always say is that if you don't have an unusual condition that requires development of a completely new procedure, China is the best option, because it is a pay-as-you-go system and the costs are much lower than they would be in the States. Robert mentioned that he had a condition that the doctors in Hong Kong had not been able to treat properly because they did not know what it was. He said one visit to a doctor in California solved the problem. He could be right about that--diagnosis is probably better in the US than in other parts of the world. And the United States is definitely the location of choice for rich people with life threatening conditions, such as heart problems. But I personally don't like to go to a doctor until I am pretty certain I know what the problem is. Then it's just a matter of getting the right treatment.

Thailand always comes up in discussions like this. I mentioned the Bunrungrad Hospital, and Robert had also heard of it. This hospital has quite a reputation among English teachers because they say you can get world class treatment for a very low price. I don't know if that's the case anymore, though, because once the word gets out, medical tourism increases, and with it, the prices. But even if the prices are a lot lower, you don't always have the luxury of delaying treatment until you get to a distant location.

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