Obamacare Is Going To Be Very Good For Costa Rica

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Thanks to skyrocketing prices for health care in America and Canada, an increasing number of people are paying to travel to places like Costa Rica to get care that is cheaper even with travel costs:

(Reuters) – When Canadian house cleaner Marlene Trithardt needed a tooth replaced, she drove past her local dentist’s office in Alberta and flew to the beach paradise of Costa Rica – to save money.

Trithardt is one of a growing number of North Americans who turn south for medical care lured by lower prices, contributing close to 0.8 percent of Costa Rica’s gross domestic product.

“I chose to come here because I find in Alberta the prices are about 80 percent higher than in Costa Rica,” says Trithardt, 57, who makes $30,000 a year.

Her treatment will cost $4,000. But even including airfare, hotels and meals for two weeks, the total amount is lower than the $10,000 she said she was expecting to pay for the dental care alone in Canada.

In the bargain, Trithardt got to take a few days to visit Costa Rica’s national parks.

Around 40,000 medical tourists visited Costa Rica last year, compared to 36,000 in 2010 and 30,000 in 2009. Most of them are American and Canadian, according to the country’s tourism institute, ICT.

The medical industry in places like Costa Rica had to be rooting for Obamcare to pass. With that law’s insurance and care mandates, prices for health care here in America are going to spike, driving more medical tourism as Americans seek lower prices.

That’s great for Costa Rica. That’s not so great for America. And keep in Mind that America, for a lot of Canadians, has been a medical tourism destination in the past. All along our border with Canada the medical industry thrives by providing services to Canadians seeking lower prices, or shorter wait times for care. Buffalo, New York, is famous for this but even communities here in North Dakota like Minot and Grand Forks cater to a significant number of Canadians seeking care.

That, too, will likely become mostly a thing of the past thanks to Obamacare.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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  • mickey_moussaoui

    I predicted this 4 years ago. I figure the real good doctors will go to warm exotic countries and form off shore medical healthcare corporations for the exclusive treatment of cash customers (you know, the 2%). Why stay here and have the government dictate how you make a living.
    Ahh yes, the good old days…

    • Thresherman

      Recall that in the 2008 campaign, Sarah Palin said that as bad as things are then, if Obama were to be elected we would look back on that time as the good old days. Naturally the liberals then called her stupid, as that is all that their fetid little minds can come up with for a defense against those who persist in telling the truth.

      • WOOF

        $arah’$ never before had it so good.

        • splined

          President Vacation and his wife Vacation More are doing quite well too.

          • mickey_moussaoui

            We Americans paid over $1 billion for Obama vacations in 2011. Not bad for black trailer trash

          • awfulorv

            You misspelled uppitty…

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      What’s funny is that there are doctors doing work for cash here in the United States. There’s a cash clinic in Oklahoma (too lazy to look up the link) that does work significantly cheaper than other hospitals. Only catch is, you pay out of pocket. They don’t take insurance.

      It just goes to show that if we really want to make health care more affordable, we need to make health care more of a free market.

    • awfulorv

      As Dr Sheddy, the Indian “Henry Ford of heart surgeons”, is doing at the moment, in the Cayman Islands.

  • Tim Heise

    When I lived in El Paso Texas, they was and still is a very big market in Juarez for dentists, MDs, and Pharmacy’s serving Americans.

  • mickey_moussaoui

    Insurance is a gamble. Some day you may need it. Most days you dont. I generally get a physical once a year and a dental cleaning twice a year. The only two expensive things I have had to be done to me over the past 57 years was having my knee scoped and having my tonsils removed. Basically, I have not gotten my investment in insurance back. If I had paid cash for all the other stuff I would be way ahead of the game.

  • SigFan

    If the tax rates go back up as Obama wants them to there is going to be a lot of people going to Costa Rica and staying there. It’s already become a very attractive haven for ex-pat retirees and that doesn’t look like it’s going to change anytime soon.

  • awfulorv

    My sister in law had all her teeth capped by a Dentist in Algodones, Mexico for approximately one tenth the cost of an American Dentist. They looked beautiful, and have given her no problems.

  • LastBestHope

    Money, like water, finds its own level. As we make money unwelcome here, it will go elsewhere.

    Watch this: http://blip.tv/davidhorowitztv/bill-whittle-6444929

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