Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles Millions of people travel abroad for medical treatment, from dental work to major heart surgery. All done at a fraction of the cost back home. Medical tourism brings in billions of dollars a year worldwide. So, we wanted to know: What exactly is medical tourism? Well, since the mid 20th century, healthcare costs have exploded in many developed countries, especially in the United States. Some have blamed this on the closed system of procedure and drug pricing, which is not allowed for free market competition. So when prices rise, they don't go back down. Other factors, like exaggerated insurance billing, malpractice lawsuits, and infrequent but serious doctor visits contribute to increasing costs. According to a 2011 OECD report, a procedure like a heart bypass can cost more than $100,000 dollars in the US. However, that same procedure could run less than $4,000 dollars in Mexico. For those without health insurance or high deductibles, medical tourism represents a viable and beneficial alternative. For Americans, the most common medical tourism destinations include Thailand, India, Mexico, and Cuba. In many of these developing countries, medical tourism represents a lucrative and growing source of economic revenue. Countries are actually competing for medical tourists. In Japan, the government is instituting new policies that will help increase the number of hospitals accepting foreign patients. Worldwide, the industry is said to be worth up to $55 billion dollars. However, there are certain drawbacks. The US Center for Disease Control has registered several safety concerns over higher rates of bacterial infections and diseases for medical tourists. These can be attributed to less strict sanitation rules in other countries and and the presence of contagious diseases that are otherwise rare in the US. In 2014, 19 American women, who traveled to the Dominican Republic for plastic surgery, contracted bacterial infections. Additionally, transplant tourism has become a highly controversial issue. Medical tourists can obtain organs and transplant operations without waiting in a long line, and for less money. But the World Health Organization says that the organs often come from vulnerable people. Most of the world has completely banned transplant tourism. However, organs can still be purchased on the black market. Medical tourism also presents problems for locals who now face more competition for healthcare in their own country. Wealthy outsiders can crowd out native citizens, and even raise the prices for certain procedures by increasing demand. Healthcare providers, too, can be required to change their practices in order to accommodate and cater to foreigners. A recent report on healthcare in developed countries ranked the US last in effectiveness and efficiency. This is despite the fact that the US spends more money on healthcare per person than any other country. Presently, the future of medical tourism is expected to remain profitable as experts predict billions of dollars in revenue growth for the coming years. Another unusual type of tourism is birth tourism. To learn more about this controversial practice, watch this video. The law allowing citizenship by birth didn't exist prior to the passing of the 14th Amendment in 1868. It was passed as a way to guarantee the citizenship to African Americans and their children, this was done in the wake of civil war and the evolution of slavery. Thank you for watching TestTube! And don't forget to like and subscribe for new videos every day!