Dem Primary Run off Candidate Howard Sherman’s Proposal To Make Mississippi A Medical Tourism State Risks Driving Up Cost Of Health Insurance-Medical Care In Mississippi Plus Worsen Doctor Shortage


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Over the last couple of weeks of research into candidate Howard Sherman of California, who aspires to be the Democratic candidate for one of Mississippi’s US Senate seats, an apparent pattern has emerged. Sherman’s idea of doing business appears to: a) involve government subsidies and b) involve promoting businesses that he and his wife, Sela Ward, have invested in: A possible exception is his adopt a bridge idea, but he may have some vested interest in that, as well.

Evidence suggests that Sherman isn’t a carpetbagger bringing enlightenment, as he wishes to present himself, but rather a carpetbagger on the make.

One of Sherman’s proposals is to make Mississippi into a medical tourism state:

Not only will Mississippi be stuck with more hazardous and toxic medical waste, but, over time, medical tourism would almost certainly drive up the cost of both insurance and medical care in Mississippi, while wages remain stagnant and unemployment/underemployment high. When people come in from areas where health-care costs more, and insurance companies are used to paying more, then the cost of services, and ultimately the cost of insurance, will go up. Costs to Medicaid and Medicare will go up, as well. The only thing which would stop this would be a federally mandated cap on what doctors and hospitals can charge, as in Canada. Furthermore, it could exacerbate the impacts of a shortage of doctors in Mississippi.

What does experience with medical tourism teach us?

government subsidies for private sector growth, via tax breaks and preferential access to land, is unlikely to benefit the health system at large nor facilitate broader public health goals (universal coverage) if private hospitals cater to larger shares of fee paying, foreign patients. This can be seen in Malaysia, where tax incentives are available for building hospitals (industry building allowance), using medical equipment, staff training and service promotion (deductions on expenses incurred….” (“Medical tourism and policy implications for health systems: a conceptual framework from a comparative study of Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia” By Nicola S Pocock and Kai Hong Phua, Global Health. 2011; 7: 12, Published online 2011 May 4 )

Sherman and wife Sela Ward have invested in at least one medical company which appears to be from India. And, we suspect that he wishes to outsource Telemed medical care to India, and possibly bring more doctors from India into Mississippi as part of his medical tourism project:

So, how’s that medical tourism working out for India?
In India, the private sector has already received considerable subsidies in the form of land, reduced import duties for medical equipment, etc. Medical tourism could further legitimize their demands and put pressure on the government to subsidize them even more. This is worrying because the scarce resources available for health will go into subsidizing the private sector.”

It has been predicted that one effect of the increase in medical tourists would be a rise in the overall cost of health care in the country (Ministry of Health and Family Welfare 2005). In recent years, several studies have indicated the rising nature of medical costs...” (“Medical tourism: its potential impact on the health workforce and health systems in India“, by Indrajit Hazarika, Health Policy and Planning, Volume 25, Issue 3, 1 May 2010, Pages 248–251, )

Mississippians don’t need higher insurance and healthcare costs, nor need to compete with wealthier people from out of state for access to medical care. As seen in the examples, above, it could make things much worse for Mississippi: “Mississippi also has the worst health system of any state, according to a 2015 study on state health system performance by the CommonWealth Fund. The state had the third-worst score for accessible and affordable healthcare, largely due to its high rates of uninsured adults and failure to expand Medicaid. As the state with the highest poverty rate of nearly a quarter of its residents — 24.3 percent, according to The Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality — health insurance is still outside the financial reach of many Mississippians….” “10 Best and Worst States for Health Insurance Costs” Updated Dec 06, 2017

According to this article, doctors prefer states with more insured patients, because they generally get paid more: “MS worst in the nation for doctor shortage

Mississippi works to combat doctor shortage” Tuesday, September 26th 2017, 8:03 pm EDT.