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We have been chatting off and on about the potential of medical tourism as a growth sector for New Brunswick. No one is seriously considering this but I think it merits at least a high level assessment.
Look at Minnesota. Rochester officials say members of Saudi Arabia’s royal family spent enough during a visit to the Mayo Clinic to give the area’s economy a shot in the arm. City officials say Saudi Arabian King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz arrived in the Minnesota city on Nov. 15 for a checkup at the Mayo Clinic and was accompanied by at least five princes and hundreds of others. Rochester Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director Brad Jones says a conservative estimate of the royal family’s spending is up to $1.5 million.
Obviously that’s a bizarre and extreme case but if the province was able to carve out a niche here and generate $50 to $100 million in new health care business it would mean more high paying jobs here (the health care sector is among the highest paid of all industries) and a broader base of health care talent for the local population.
I think this has almost nothing to do with the debate over public health care. In fact, it would mean more revenue to support public health care here.
At its simplest level, the cost of health care is out of control in the United States and they (both the public and the health care financing industry) are turning to alternatives out of country. Why not Canada?
Again, I don’t know the specifics of the business model. That would have to be worked out but if a specific surgery that costs $80,000 in the U.S. costs $40,000 here, who wouldn’t want to save $40k?
Just to keep the ball rolling on this….