A few days ago, I asked the question, “Is US health care driving Americans to move abroad?” The response was swift.
“Of course it is,” wrote Lya Sorano, Atlanta businesswoman. “Hardly a month passes in which I do not hear about a friend-of-a-friend or former neighbor decamping to Mexico or Costa Rica. I may be next . . . :-)”
Mary Duckworth, who blogs as Expat Abroad, responded:
“It was one of the major factors prompting me to move overseas in 1993 when I did with my foreign husband. We had no health insurance in the United States, and an uncomplicated one night delivery in the hospital at that time, plus about eight pre-natal visits was running $10,000. In Morocco, at that time, specialists were charging $10 a visit, and three nights in the hospital with the slightly complicated delivery (vacuum extraction) cost about $500.
“However, if I had not been ready to consider a move overseas anyway, it might not have happened. However, I cannot see how I could ever come back unless they do something about health care.
A real estate agent in Mexico commented, “I would have to say yes. Many US expats I have talked with share the same view on the US health care system.”
Carol Schmidt, who blogs about San Miguel de Allende wrote:
“US and Canadian citizens aren’t moving to Mexico specifically for cheaper health care but for an overall lower cost of living and improved way of life, in which lower medical costs are a big part.
“I don’t think anyone is flocking to Mexico just to get treated at Mexican general hospitals and sign up for the Mexican social security health insurance, IMSS.”
Michelle, expat in the UK who blogs as Mid-Atlantic English wrote:
“I greatly appreciate the NHS [National Health Service] in Britain and with aging parents I hear a lot of the downsides to the US system. It’s frustrating at best and really enraging at worst. Pathetic that such a great country has got this wrong for so long–or more accurately, that such a great country has let Big Business rule their decision making for so long.”
One site visitor went even farther:
“You have got it right on. This country is no longer by the people and for the people. It’s by the big corps and for the big corps! We are planning our move within the next year and it’s out of here.”
However, a journalist living in the Netherlands disagrees.
“How many people can just pick up and move, obtain live/work visas, get jobs, and organize their lives in a new country just like that? How many have the money to do this? Do they sell their homes in the US? Can they speak the language of the new country? Are they willing to accept third-world health care?
“No, I don’t think this is happening at all.”
“. . . 6.6 million Americans do not live overseas because of health care. There are other reasons to go abroad. Moreover, as I said before, it’s not like you can just pick up and move to another country at whim. It doesn’t work that way. “
We’ll be looking at this topic more in the next few months, I’m sure. In the meantime, if you’d like to discuss it further, please fan the Future Expats Forum page I started on Facebook, where it’s a little easier to carry on an actual conversation.