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International healthcare news: US expats call for Mexican Medicare extension

Expatriate communities in Mexico are urging US authorities to consider treating migrant patients across the border to save money and reduce disruption, it has been reported.

Paul Crist, the owner of a Puerto Vallarta resort and former senator’s aide, told Time magazine that paying for medical procedures in Mexico could significantly reduce public health spending.

"My research, as well as the research of others, shows that health care in Mexico costs less than a third of that in the US," he explained.

A 2007 study by the University of Texas quoted in the magazine indicates that a hip replacement costs between $43,000 (£26,214) and $63,000, compared to $12,000 in Mexico.

Mr Crist estimates that around 1 million US-born expats living in the country are eligible for Medicare, the government’s social insurance programme.

Treating them in their adoptive communities rather than flying patients back to the US would reduce disruption and save much-needed funds, he added.

Mr Crist has lent his support to Americans for Medicare in Mexico, a non-profit organisation urging health authorities to set up an agency to manage an expatriate health programme.

The group maintains that an intermediate body could overcome language, currency and certification difficulties.

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