Monday, March 3, 2008


I was just watching the travesty that is the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric. They reported that in Texas (and even Iowa) many people fly to Mexico for healthcare and prescriptions to reap the delicioso savings available in a town called Metmoros or something like that. Apparently a doctor’s office visit is as low as THREE BUCKS! (He says a visit to a US doctor is 125 bucks. Where the hell did he get that number?)

And then they plant some truck driver making next to nothing who says “The American Healthcare system is a TRAVESTY!”

Byron Pitts is, I am sure, a nice guy. But does he make any mention of the fixed costs that doctors have that they probably do NOT have in Mexico. Rent, for instance, for the Primary Care doctor in my office is FOUR Thousand DOLLARS A MONTH! That’s probably, like, a million bazillion pesos. But I’m guessing the rents are not so exorbitant south of the border. Also no mention of electricity costs, malpractice costs, billing and overhead costs.

If I charged each patient 3 bucks (which the CBS Evening News seems to be exhorting me to do) then I see my practice lasting about 4 weeks, until the rent is due.

I mean, three into 4000 is 1333, so I only have to see 66 patients day to pay the rent. What’s left for my bartender?

I’m guessing neither presidential candidate is going to advise people to go to Mexico for healthcare, a la Mike Bloomberg telling NYC residents to go to Starbucks if they need a bathroom. And doctors are scapgoated, once again, for the rising costs of healthcare. And one of their brilliant proposals is to lower the poverty rate so more people will qualify for Medicaid. I can't wait to get 30 bucks instead of three for an office visit. (and 7 bucks for a follow up in the hospital. Woo hoo!)


Anonymous said...

I realize that this post was written quite awhile ago and that your blog has taken a backseat to your everyday life – but what you wrote, based off a 5 minute news segment at most – isn’t the case for the majority of Mexican citizens. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sent money to my in-laws so they could see a doctor, and not some fresh n00b who wants to rub them down with sage, say the rosary & pop them a few aspirin. They live in a remote region of Oaxaca and have to travel either 2 hours to the closest town that has a hospital, or 3 hours to see a MD/specialist.

Visits and exams are not $3.00 USD; medicines are not $2-5/pop. They’re $50-400.00, scripts are $10+. Out of pocket, no insurance. No filing taxes to deduct it from income, etc. Do you have cancer? Great, we’ll remove that prostate for a cool $2500.00. The anesthesia is an extra $300.00 if you want it.We’ll even throw in scabies for free. Do you need chemo or radiation? Oh…no money? Sorry…sell something and then we’ll talk.

When I was in my early 20’s, I worked in an inbound fraud call center, monitoring suspicious transactions. I got a call from a young woman claiming to be her mother and attempting to get approval for a $20k charge at a hospital. She finally broke down, sobbing that her mother was seeking treatment for another condition when she had a heart attack and was now being held in the mortuary, indefinitely until the family paid $30k for medical expenses.

If people here complain about the system and how horrible it is, and how great it is in Mexico – they’re right. It’s great if you’re an American and have money to dump into their economy, you’re a cash cow to them and nothing more. But if you’re anyone else, a peon, un pobre, then you’re SOL.

Mike said...

I don't know which is more horrible, the lying that occurs in the news, or that story about this poor woman who can't claim her mother's body.