Supply of Medical Services

Medical Onshoring?

As the cost for health care has continued to rise, many Americans have looked for less expensive treatments in foreign countries. Living in San Diego, I can attest that many Southern Californians head to Tijuana to have their prescriptions filled. A Minot Daily News article (“Medical onshoring…“) claims that “more than 150,000 Americans traveled abroad for health care in 2006.” The article continues to state that Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Carolina has formed affiliations with health care facilities in Thailand, Turkey, Ireland, Costa Rica and Singapore. Can anyone get affordable health care in the U.S?

The answer may be yes…on American Indian sovereign lands. C.A. Chien is proposing a Medical Onshoring project (see his Medical Onshoring blog). Health workers from foreign countries can be hired for lower wages and will not be subject to U.S. medical restrictions while they are on American Indian sovereign lands.

One wonders if the quality of care will suffer? Chien states that all his facilities “…will be accredited at JCI levels, equal to those in Japan, Singapore, Thailand, India, Europe, or the U.K.” In the Minot Daily article, Chien continues argues that “…his system and its proprietary technology could reduce U.S. health-care costs by at least 15 percent.”

Although the impact of this model may be limited to those who are living in areas near American Indian lands, I am in favor of any innovation which could lower costs while maintaining quality.