Agrò (Campus Bio-medico), ‘from American tourism to countries with cheaper treatments’

Rome, April 11 (Adnkronos Salute) – Health tourism is becoming more and more widespread in the United States: citizens without health insurance pack their bags and leave for treatment without breaking the bank. “In the United States, where health is not considered a right, but a consumer good and where the State does not intervene in the financing of citizens’ health care, medical tourism was born, a phenomenon for which 45 million Americans, of whom they are unable to use the health service and who cannot afford health insurance, they go to seek treatment abroad to spend at least 70% less than US hospital costs. To trace the image is Felice Eugenio Agrò, Full Professor and Director of the School of Specialization in Anesthesia and Resuscitation of Campus Bio-Medico, in the lectio magistralis held during the conference “How the Covid-19 pandemic has changed our vision of care”, organized from the M5S this afternoon in the Senate.

“For example, heart valve replacement surgery, which would cost around $200,000 in the United States, costs around $30,000 in India, South Korea or other countries – explains Agrò – with a saving of about 85% of the American costs, even if it includes the return flight and the hotel. The same intervention in Italy costs 90% less than in America, it costs about 20,000 euros instead of 200,000 dollars .In Italy, not only is health a right sanctioned by the Constitution, but it is ensured in safety, quality and adequacy.Our health system manages to align global health security policies with those of health coverage universal,” he says.

“Health in a static conception is nothing but the absence of disease, whereas in a dynamic conception health is identified as a state of well-being deriving from the balance between body and psyche. For the World Health Organization (WHO) health is a state of physical, mental and social well-being, unfortunately – says Agrò – sometimes the psychological and social aspect of health is underestimated. health system models present in the world”.

Agrò reviews the “different models of health care organization. The best known are three, the pluralist model, the mutualist model and the universalist model. In a pluralist health system like the one that exists in the United States, the health is considered a consumer good.The state does not intervene in the financing of health care, which citizens provide through private health insurance.In America, the state is not responsible for the health of the citizen and does not own hospitals, regulating the health services market with management bodies similar to those of other sectors (antitrust, licenses, authorizations) Planning, financing, management and control of health are left to free negotiation between citizens and private structures and the stipulation of health insurance is optional”.

“Instead, in a mutual system like the one that exists in France, Germany, Holland, Canada – he continues – good health is still considered a consumer good as in the USA, but a consumer good guaranteed and regulated, based on state-regulated mutuals, membership of which is compulsory In the mutual system, the state is responsible for national health policy, regulates the mutuals, making their registration compulsory In the mutual system, the Health financing is shared between employers and workers”.

“Compared to the pluralist system of the United States and the mutual aid system of France, Germany, the Netherlands and Canada, in a universalist health system such as that which exists in Italy, good health n is not a consumer good, but a citizen’s right, sanctioned by Article 32 of our Constitution – recalls Agrò – In the Italian universal health system, the State is responsible for national health policy, raises funds through general taxation, allocates resources to structures based on health planning and monitors service delivery”. The Covid-19 pandemic “has put a strain on the different health system models in the 5 continents, noting their limits and shortcomings, but also merits and positive points – he says – in respecting the right to health of citizens in different states and continents”.

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