My teeth are rotten. It is my own fault. I didn’t care for them when I was young. As a result, I have a big investment in crowns and fillings. Much of this work was done decades ago and it is getting old. I also chipped two front teeth a while back. I decided to get it all fixed, in Brazil. Getting three crowns and four filling replaced, as well as two cavities fixed and my chipped front teeth capped will cost $2553, all in. Lots of money, but only about a quarter of the U.S. price. Maybe less.
In addition, this dentist can get all of that done in about two weeks. It is different in the U.S.
A few months ago, I needed blood work to test for cholesterol, sugar etc. That cost me only about thirty dollars. And it didn’t take much time.
This was all done by private firms/doctors. Brazil has a public system, but those who can afford it usually go to the private system and pay the private doctors themselves, which keeps the costs down. And the medical system in Brazil is still not as lawyer infected as ours.
I am not saying that I prefer the Brazilian system. American medical care is still the best in the world, but it is expensive. We sometimes get more than we would want to pay for. And we don’t pay attention because somebody else is paying.
There are a few lessons here. First, medical care can become more of an internationally trade commodity.
A second lesson has to do with delivery. If people pay out of their own pockets, prices remain lower. Brazil is NOT an inexpensive country generally. It costs MORE to maintain an American level of living in Brazil than in the U.S. Restaurants and food cost more. Cars cost more. Electronics costs a lot more. But medical care is cheaper.