By David Shama, on No Camels. This article was first published on The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.
Israel ranks as one of the world’s best places for foreigners to get medical care, according to an authoritative annual report. The Medical Tourism Index (MTI) ranks Israel highest in a survey of 25 of the most popular destinations for medical tourism for care, services, and best patient experiences and third overall as the best place for non-Israelis to get medical care.
It’s clearly a compliment, but some warn that medical tourists might be taking up beds and care that would otherwise go to Israelis.
Traditionally, “medical tourists” have been residents of less developed countries seeking treatment in the US or Europe that was unavailable in their countries. That has changed — much of the medical tourism “traffic” is now in the opposite direction, from developed countries to places where similar procedures are available more cheaply. The 2013 report of the Medical Tourism Association (MTA) shows that nearly 80% of demand for medical travel is driven by cost savings, and almost 76% of patients who have or would be interested in medical travel are Americans. As many as 1.6 million Americans traveled abroad for medical treatment in 2021, the organization said, reflecting the high cost of health care in the US.
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