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Buenos Dias from Buenos Aires: Health care in Argentina

Hola, amigos! Thanks for reading about my experience in Buenos Aires. I love the city so much and have been having fun, but I came down with bronchitis, which has put a bit of a damper on things. I’ve had a bad cough for about three months since right after fall semester at Ohio University ended. I thought it was getting better until my throat started hurting, and I even started seeing blood in my spit. But don’t cry for me, Argentina, because I recently went to the emergency room and experienced the perfection of what is Argentina’s health care system.

I never thought a trip to the emergency room would only cost $42, but that was the reality on Thursday when I went to the nearest clinic, a 15-minute walk from my house. According to the Atlantic, the average trip to the emergency room for an upper respiratory infection costs about $1101 in the United States.

And in my experience in the U.S, it’s usually at least a two-hour experience to go to the ER. On Thursday I was in and out within 30 minutes. They did not make me wait more than five minutes to see a doctor who was extremely attentive. I explained my symptoms in mediocre Spanish, and the doctor was patient and didn’t seem confused once with my third-grade level Spanish.

I received two prescriptions for antibiotics which cost a total of $18. I can’t remember a time where I spent that little on prescription medication.

My experience at the ER is the norm here. Argentina is famous for its low-cost health care, and medical tourism is a big part of the traffic of foreigners to the country. More than 14,000 people visited Argentina and spent about $182 million on medical tourism in 2014, according to Global Press Journal. It’s interesting that medical services are so much cheaper here than in the U.S. that many people are willing to spend at least $1000 on a flight down to South America for it.

Although many of the medical tourists come for medical surgeries, more than 30 percent of them come for cosmetic or plastic surgery, according to the International Medical Travel Journal.

I am glad the place I chose to study abroad has everything to offer — awesome food, nightlife, museums, schools and medical care. I didn’t think that I would need medical attention, but I’m lucky that I’m in the right place to get help.

Although Argentina has great health care and offers a way for people to save money on medical treatment, I encourage you to visit because it’s a beautiful country with an amazing culture, not just because it offers low-cost cosmetic surgeries.

Jessica Hill is a sophomore studying journalism and global studies. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Have you experienced international health care? Contact Jessica at jh240314@ohio.edu or tweet her @jess_hillyeah.

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