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| M I D D L E E A S T H E A L T H
Academic Hospitals
highest-spending 5% of the population
accounted for more than half of all
spending. The top 30% of the population
ranked by expenditures accounted for
nearly 89% of healthcare expenditures.
Further, 50% of the population ranked by
their expenditures accounted for only
3.1% and 2.9% of the total for 2008 and
2009, according to the analysis and cited
on Wikipedia.
Medical tourism
As a leader in training doctors – it follows
that the US should be a leader in healthcare
excellence – and this in turn draws patients
from around the world who seek – and can
pay for – the world’s best healthcare.
Wealthy Arabs from the Middle East
comprise a significant part of this patient
population.
Inbound medical tourism, where
patients from other countries travel to the
US for healthcare is growing significantly,
according to a recent report in
Medical
Tourism
.
Hospitals in the US are looking for new
revenue sources especially in the face of
reduced revenues under healthcare
reform. Foreign patients represent the
potential for high profit revenue for hospi-
tals in the form of cash paying foreign
patients or patients covered by a global
health insurance policy of an interna-
tional insurance company.
Renee-Marie Stephano, president of the
Medical Tourism Association and editor
of
Medical Tourism
magazine, says: “As
more people around the world understand
the importance of the transparency in the
quality of medical care, many are
demanding that their global health insur-
ance policies permit reimbursement for
overseas medical care. American hospitals
are looking to regain some of their
inbound patient flow by creating greater
visibility through marketing in medical
tourism. It is more challenging now for
hospitals to stand alone on their reputa-
tions as more hospitals enter the global
marketplace. More affiliations and
academic relations are emerging to unite
their facilities with overseas referral
centres.”
Health care in Canada
Health care in Canada is delivered through
a publicly funded health care system –
Medicare – which is mostly free at the point
of use and has most services provided by
private entities. It is guided by the provi-
sions of the Canada Health Act of 1984.
The Government assures the quality of care
through federal standards, but does not
participate in day-to-day care.
About 27.6% of Canadians’ health care
is paid for through the private sector. This
mostly goes towards services not covered
or only partially covered by Medicare,
such as prescription drugs, dentistry and
optometry. Some 75% of Canadians have
some form of supplementary private
health insurance; many of them receive it
through their employers.
Although the Canadian system is for
the most part publicly funded, most of the
services are provided by private enter-
prises. Most doctors do not receive an
annual salary, but receive a fee per visit or
service.
Dr Albert Schumacher, former presi-
dent of the Canadian Medical
Association, says an estimated 75% of
Canadian health care services are deliv-
ered privately, but funded publicly.
The healthcare systems in the United
States and Canada provide interesting
comparisons to one another, especially
since the US system is considered private
and Canada has a national health system
that provides universal coverage. National
health systems are theoretically designed
to provide accessible, affordable care for
all segments of the population, but critics
of such systems often question the quality
of that care. Conversely, critics of the US
system often point to the fact that afford-
able, high-quality healthcare is not
equally available to all who need it.
A Gallup poll (Healthcare system
ratings, 2003) found that 25% of
American respondents are either “very” or
“somewhat” satisfied with “the availability
of affordable healthcare in the nation,”
(6% very satisfied and 19% somewhat
satisfied). This level of satisfaction is
significantly lower than in Canada, where
57% are satisfied with the availability of
affordable healthcare, including 16% who
are very satisfied.
The poll also looked at respondents
views on the quality of care in each
country and found that the views of
Americans on the quality of medical care
in their country are not overly different –
48% of Americans and 52% of Canadians
say they are satisfied.