Owing largely to big pharma's predatory gouging and the exorbitant charges of doctors and hospitals, U.S. health care costs have soared into the stratosphere. The Rabid Orange Raccoon hasn't improved the situation by partially dismantling Obamacare. In fact, President Trump's self-avowed destructive agenda has escalated health care pricing, fueled in part by the added burden of millions of citizens who've elected not to buy insurance and have instead become charity cases.
In an effort to take control of the ever-worsening situation, many Americans have chosen non-domestic medical providers as a money-saving alternative. For prescription drugs, they've tapped into the discounts of India and Canada. And for medical and surgical procedures, thousands have flocked to other countries in search of better prices—discovering that some of the best surgical care in the world is not necessarily statewide. The price difference is really a jaw-dropper; surgical candidates are often so shocked at the disparity that their own friends confuse them with Jay Leno.
Take, for instance, the cost of an aortic valve replacement. In the U.S., you'll pay around $170K, including surgeon, anesthesiologist and hospitalization. But wait a minute. You could book reservations for you and your spouse and take a medical vacation instead. In India, you can have the same procedure, done by U.S.-trained heart surgeons, for a mere $9,500, and it's only $5,300 if you decide to go to Warsaw instead. Think about the fun you can have with the leftover money. It's mind blowing, and a sad indictment of American health care. Medical tourism has brought the reality poignantly home: It's not about the cost of medical services; it's about the price.
As a service to supporters of our Clown President, I've compiled a list of useful medical procedures and pricing for the adventurous medical tourist.
•Corrective rhinoplasty for Republicans: U.S. price is $6,500, but it's only $3,600 in Singapore. Expect remarkable results: The olfactory-impaired will suddenly be able to smell a rat.
•Lasik eye correction special for Trump lovers: U.S. price is $4,000, but it's only $1,000 in Delhi, India. Anticipated benefit: The refraction-created illusion of Trump's wings will disappear and his halo will sink to his midriff. As an added bonus, Biblical text regarding the treatment of others will become clear and crisp.
•Knee replacement special for the Christian right: U.S. price is $35,000, but only $7,700 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Anticipated benefit: "Get down on your knees and pray" will suddenly be a viable option.
•Anal sphincter repair: U.S. price is $13,500, but it's only $2,500 in Mexico. Anticipated benefit: The accompanying brown trails that occur simultaneously with the "OMG" and "WTF" responses to Trump's frequent verbal abortions will abruptly cease. (Sadly, carpet sales are likely to decline.) Note: All ASRs will include a complimentary rectocephalectomy if required.
•Fusion of lumbar vertebrae (Congressional special fall sale): U.S price is $110,000, but in Amman, Jordan, you can have it done for $10,000. Anticipated benefit: Senators and representatives will be able to stand and be counted, thus ending their existence as spineless invertebrates.
•Lingual nerve repair: Here, it costs $8,700, but you can have it done in Pyongyang, North Korea, for only $57.95. Benefit: Relief from epidemic tongue-biting and the joy of finally having your voice heard. "If you can't say anything nice," as Thumper entreated us in Bambi, "shout it."
So go ahead, my friends. If this list of discounted medical procedures has reminded you of what's wrong, launch yourself into the real world and get yourself fixed at a bargain price. It's a chance to cure America, one procedure at a time, and restore the health of an ailing democracy, Trump be damned.
Michael S. Robinson Sr. is a former Vietnam-era Army assistant public information officer. He lives in Riverton with his wife, Carol, and one mongrel dog. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org