Hugo Chavez, the socialist dictator of Venezuela, went to Cuba to have his cancer operation recently. I figure this makes him a medical tourist. His trip to Cuba for medical treatment raises many questions, too.
First, why not have his treatment/surgery in his own country? Maybe because the care there is…well…awful. Yes, I said it. Check outthis article on health care in Venezuela. “But the health care in Venezuela is free,” you say. Of course, nothing is free. And apparently what care you can receive there is of such poor quality that this man opted to become a medical tourist. He’s not the only government thug who has done this. Check out this article on one of the Canadian bureaucrats, Danny Williams.
Second, why Cuba, of all places? This is perhaps the most interesting part. Apparently his surgery was done in Havana, but there is no listing of the hospital or facility. Cuba has a large medical tourist business but none of these facilities are available, of course, to the locals, since their health care is…well….you know, free. Or, was Chavez simply afraid that a Venezuelan anesthesiologist might not wake him up?
Third, who paid for his care? Whoa, wait a minute. His treatment in Venezuela would have been “free.” It is illegal (just as it is in Canada) to pay out of pocket for care outside of “the system.” Do you think he paid for this care himself? Right! I guarantee you the Venezuelan government (Venezuelan slaves) paid for his care, just as the Canadian government pays for their bureaucrat’s care when they come to the U.S. Wait, you don’t think that the Cuban facility did this operation for nothing do you? Hah!
Fourth, doesn’t he know that he could have received free (I mean absolutely free) care from any number of medical tourist destinations that would love to have held their facility up as the preferred medical destination of the world’s richest and most powerful? I think that some of the international medical tourist destinations might have even paid him to have his procedure at their facility just for the bragging rights! But then, he’s a socialist and probably didn’t think about that.
If the purveyors of Obamacare all have their way, they may get to be medical tourists, too.
G. Keith Smith, M.D.