Dean Baker has long complained that when American journalists and policymakers talk about "free trade" they don’t think to include trade in things like medical care — the price of which could be brought down substantially if foreign-trained doctors were free to practice their vocation in the US.
But as a wonderful and detailed article in the Economist explains, maybe they won’t need to. Medical tourism — when Americans travel to hospitals abroad for their care, saving thousands of dollars even on copays, let alone rack-rate prices — is set to rise sharply in coming years, and that in turn is likely to bring downward pressure on medical costs domestically. It’s no alternative to health-care reform in the US, of course. But it is a useful prod in the right direction.