As an American without health insurance, I've experienced first hand how difficult it is to take care of one's health with a system like ours. Like most of us, I will only go to the hospital if there is something really, really wrong that I can't avoid visiting the hospital for (a.k.a - taking the serious financial hit). Of course...this is the crux of the problem! If all Americans were able to go in for yearly physicals with bloodwork and the whole 9 yards, would as many people be forced to visit the emergency room with problems they had no way of knowing they could prevent?
In the past, I've had some experiences with the American healthcare system that have seriously soured me to setting foot in U.S. hospitals at all.
Then there's Bamrungrad International hospital in Bangkok. Newsweek magazine recently named it the best hospital in the world and more and more middle class Americans are making the long journey to Bamrungrad for surgery of all kinds. Its so much cheaper to have involved surgery here that the airfair and a week or more of recooperation on some Thai beach is still cheaper than to have the surgery alone done in the states.
Jason and I just had full physicals at Bamrungrad, and I must say its very civilized. We didn't wait more than 20 minutes to see specialists, and at the end of the bloodwork, EKG, ultrasound and chest x-ray, we got all the results bound in a nice book. And I could afford it, which is saying a lot. Jason also had a couple of wisdom teeth pulled...and it cost him a fraction of the U.S. price.
So one of the pictures below is a hotel lobby in Bangkok. The other is a picture of a waiting room at Bamrungrad. Can you guess which one is which?