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Health Bills Seem To Be Silent On Medical Tourism

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U.S. medical tourism providers may be able continue business as usual after the big new health bills start to take effect.

The Medical Tourism Association, West Palm Beach, Fla., will be holding a briefing next Tuesday on the opportunities that the new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and sister legislation, H.R. 4872, the Reconciliation Act of 2010, could create for non-U.S. health care providers and the organizations that help U.S. patients find the non-U.S. providers.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Department of Labor still must write regulations and develop programs to implement PPACA, and organizers of the new health insurance purchasing exchanges and nonprofit health insurance cooperatives still have to develop provider networks and provider network policies.

But, in PPACA and H.R. 4872, “there is nothing that restricts medical tourism and everything remains silent about medical tourism, which is a very positive thing for the industry,” according to Jonathan Edelheit, president of the MTA.

The new legislation could increase demand for medical tourism, by increasing demand for health care services, decreasing the number of providers, and leading to longer waiting times, the MTA says.