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Medical Migration: Strategies for Affordable Care in an Unaffordable System

  • Author(s): Miller-Thayer, Jennifer Catherine
  • Advisor(s): McMullin, Juliet;
  • Velez-Ibanez, Carlos
  • et al.

Approximately 45.7 million people in the United States are uninsured and unknown numbers of this population are underinsured, severely limiting their access to medical care. To address this problem, people use innovative strategies to increase their access through cross-border care options. The U.S.-Mexico border provides unique challenges and opportunities for healthcare in this context. The lower cost of medical and dental procedures and medications in Mexico makes that country an attractive alternative for low-income populations in the United States. Thus segments of the U.S. population practice transnational medical consumerism in an attempt to optimize their health by using the resources available in both countries. This practice has economic benefits for the people who access healthcare at an affordable rate and for the medical markets of the country providing the care. Drawing on data collected in the field in 2002, 2004, and 2005, this dissertation presents some of the complexities and dynamics of medical pluralism occurring at the U.S.-Mexico border.

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