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Medicare in Mexico?
Tim O'reiley - Las Vegas Review
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June 5, 2011
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Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - While trying to convince travel industry executives that tourists to Mexico should not fear being caught in a narco war, Mexican President Felipe Calderón dropped a startling proposal for reining in the costs of U.S. health care.

"I know this country has severe financial problems related to Medicare," Calderón told the audience Thursday on the final day of the Global Travel & Tourism Summit at Aria (Las Vegas). "So it is possible to reduce the expenditure of Medicare if the (US) government will allow the American people to receive medical services in Mexico. It's a win-win situation. Very good service, quality service and it would be cheaper for people and cheaper for the (US) government."

He said that in the first four years of his term, which ends in November 2012, his government had constructed about 1,000 new clinics and hospitals and renovated 2,000 others. Some time next year, he added, all Mexican citizens would be covered by some form of government health plan.

This still leaves room for Americans willing to go south for lower-cost care, a practice often called medical tourism. For example, in Algodones, just across the border from Yuma, Arizona, a colony of dentists has formed to handle American clients.

When it comes to tourism, Mexico faces the problem of regular publicity about shootouts between government forces and drug gangs, leading to U.S. State Department warnings to avoid the country. Calderon contended the danger is limited mainly to border areas, while much of his country has been safe.The homicide rate for all of Mexico is lower than the rate in Washington, D.C., Pittsburgh, Atlanta or New Orleans, he added.

+ Wexico

Calderon’s appearance at the summit was part of what was described by Mexican officials as a one-day working visit to Las Vegas, including a visit with Sylvester Stallone and other directors of Planet Hollywood International, to promote more movie-making in Mexico.

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