Medical Tourism

Knowing that he’s in the spotlight, Romney is working hard to detract his disapproving statements of abortion and Roe v. Wade.  At an interview last Tuesday with the Des Moines Register’s editorial board, Romney attempted to be more subtle: “There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda.” Despite his attempts at redemption, women all over the country are seeing (or should be seeing) right through him. The Newsweek article title says it all: “Women, Don’t Be Fooled: Mitt Romney Will End Safe and Legal Abortion.”

Romney’s plan is clear. If elected, he will stop at nothing to overturn Roe v. Wade. When Justices Ginsberg and Breyer step down the Supreme Court will lose two steadfast supporters of continued access to safe and legal abortion. Romney will capitalize on this opportunity, that is, if we let him. “If overturned, each state would have carte blanche to end access to abortion. And it’s clear many state legislatures would relish the opportunity to do just that.” In fact, many states have, even with Roe v. Wade in place, enacted various limitations on abortion procedures within their own borders. Currently, 17 states mandate that counseling take place before every abortion where counselors share information on the purported link between abortion and breast cancer, or the ability of the fetus to feel pain. While some states justify these “counseling sessions” by claiming that they encourage fully-informed decision-making, they are, undoubtedly, also meant to discourage women from going through with the procedure. Other states take the financial route and limit private insurance coverage of abortions. In other words: Women, beware.

In addition to putting an end to abortion, Romney plans to wipe out Planned Parenthood’s access to federal funding which it uses to provide birth control and cancer screening to millions of women. If Romney gets elected we can kiss another big one goodbye – the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare. This would be an obvious move. Not so obvious, perhaps, are the international repercussions. Take Mexicali, Mexico, just below the California-Mexico border. It has adopted medical care as its primary lure for tourists. People in the United States who didn’t have health care or couldn’t get a particular procedure covered by their insurance simply hopped the border for care they could afford. This is seen in many other cities on the U.S. border, even in Central and South America, where healthcare is appreciably more affordable. Foreign cities voice little complaints; last year alone, officials in Mexicali reported some 150,000 patients who entered Mexicali, pumping more than $8 million into the city’s economy.

What effect(s) on the health care industries and medical professionals in these cities since the partial enactment of Obamacare? What effect in 2014 when almost all Americans will have health insurance? Intuitively we know that these foreign cities will lose their medical tourism appeal. Under Romney, though, they would perhaps continue to thrive. This is pretty consistent with Republican policies – boost economies overseas while Americans suffer; make the United States even more dependent on foreign nations, not only for oil and manufacturing, but for medical care too now.

Or, we could focus our efforts internally and restore the strength and independence that the United States once had. That sounds much better. Obama it is.


SOURCES: Guttmacher Institute, The New York Times, The Daily Beast


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