Where Are All the Doctors?

Need a doctor?

Then get your passport ready.

Because, the way things are shaping up in our healthcare system, you’ll be lucky to find a doctor who can help you.

As it turns out, there aren’t nearly enough doctors and nurses in the U.S. to provide the care we need. The Association of Medical Colleges reported last year that, by 2020, the U.S. health care system will have a shortage of 90,000 doctors. According to Dr. Peter Buerhaus, we’re also facing a shortage of 260,000 nurses.

And with the Baby Boomers entering their golden years, the pressure on the healthcare system is only going to get worse. There’s nothing magic about this forecast. Older people need more care, which requires more care providers…

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And our economy is not generating enough new health care professionals to meet the upcoming demand.

It’s All About Money

Ultimately, this problem comes down to a matter of money: there’s simply not enough of it to increase enrollments in medical and nursing schools across the country.

For example, Wayne State University in Michigan has a renowned nursing program. It receives over two thousand applicants a year and admits around 350. That’s all they have space for because medical programs have strict limitations on the student/teacher ratios they must maintain to keep accreditation.

While this might seem like a bureaucratic limitation, the reason it is in place is to ensure the learning opportunity for each candidate in the hands-on parts of the programs.

So, the only way for schools to maintain these ratios AND increase admissions is to add more teaching staff. But that costs money. And most publicly funded universities are in cost-cutting mode right now. Don’t expect anything to change in a hurry.

The shortage is medical professionals will only get worse.

The question then is, how do you get the medical care you or your parents might need in the next few years?

The answer is: turn to medical tourism.

Not only will you find highly skilled medical practitioners and specialists in emerging countries like India, but you’ll often find doctors considered the best in their fields… and you’ll likely pay much less for your treatment.

For example, you’d only pay $1,900 for a heart operation in India. The same operation in the U.S. would cost you around $60,000. Knee replacement surgery in India, Costa Rica or Mexico costs between $6,000 and $12,500. In the U.S., you’re looking at $40,000. A kidney transplant in India starts at $17,000. Back in 2005, the average cost to transplant one kidney in the U.S., ranged from $210,000 to over $800,000.

Cataract surgery, back surgery, lung cancer surgery. You name it and you’ll more easily find top-notch doctors in emerging markets AND pay only a fraction of the price.

This makes emerging markets, like India, the place to watch for massive investment gains in the years to come. They are positioning themselves to take advantage of demographic shifts in the developed nations and they have their own demographic wave flooding their economies.

There’s a big boom ahead.

Rodney

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Categories: Economy

About Author

Rodney Johnson works closely with Harry Dent to study how people spend their money as they go through predictable stages of life, how that spending drives our economy and how you can use this information to invest successfully in any market. Rodney began his career in financial services on Wall Street in the 1980s with Thomson McKinnon and then Prudential Securities. He started working on projects with Harry in the mid-1990s. He’s a regular guest on several radio programs such as America’s Wealth Management, Savvy Investor Radio, and has been featured on CNBC, Fox News and Fox Business’s “America’s Nightly Scorecard, where he discusses economic trends ranging from the price of oil to the direction of the U.S. economy. He holds degrees from Georgetown University and Southern Methodist University.