The new administration is moving quickly to build “The Wall”, which is damaging the Mexico medical travel markets, to and from Mexico. A progressively hotter relationship between Pres. Trump’s irrepressible adolescence and Mexico’s national pride can only lead to greater difficulties in the Mexico medical travel markets, to and from the United States.
Mexican medical services & supplies
Hospitals, dental clinics, pharmacies, and an array of health and wellness providers in Mexico depend upon an annual stream of 500,000 to 800,000 Americans, many of them Mexican-Americans, traveling to Mexico for services and products. In recent years, upscale hospitals, many of them by American companies, have attempted to attract “medical tourists” from the United States, with US Joint Commission quality, elegant accommodations, bilingual doctors, all at significantly lower prices than in the US. The idea had been that, with equal quality, Americans would flock to lower cost healthcare, with personalized services in Mexico. This idea never really took hold as it’s promoters and investors had desired. Still, a few thousand expats and a some price sensitive consumers (especially for dental care) have been enjoying the benefits of treatment in Mexico.
Mexicans in US hospitals
Similarly, US hospitals, especially those in Texas and Southern California, have been treating tens of thousands of middle and upper class Mexicans who cross the border seeking complex, sophisticated treatments, which may or may not be available at the public hospitals in Mexico.
The value of this import/export market compared to, for example, the trade in automobiles or fresh produce, is minuscule. However, the cross-border trade in services is far more characteristic of the global economy. We are witnessing, on our southern doorstep, the shredding of years of progress. And in the process, we are making trade in services more inaccessible, to the real detriment of the citizens of both countries.