by Larry Smith
In a soon-to-be published book (Is it Really Better in the Bahamas...for Bahamians?), local eye surgeon Dr John Rodgers argues strongly for the development of medical tourism in the Bahamas.
""If the Bahamian GDP could receive the $2 billion that Cuba receives annually from medical tourism, not only would our national debt be reduced, but Bahamians would have true ownership of this segment of the economy," he writes.
Rodgers complains about the inertia and obstructionism of both the government and the Medical Association, but this mindset seems to be changing. The pent up investment demand of wealthy physicians is fueling a range of medical tourism initiatives, and more are lying just under the radar.
Medical tourism is said to be a multi-billion-dollar growth industry that hospitals, doctors and tourism marketers around the world are eager to tap into, but there are few reliable statistics. According to one estimate, as many as half a million Americans travelled to other countries for treatment in 2008 - and rising US healthcare costs are expected to grow this market over the next several years.