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ARABS REJECT U.S. MEDICAL CARE

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    ARABS TURNING TO ASIA AND AWAY FROM U.S. FOR MEDICAL CARE MALCOLM FOSTER Associated Press BANGKOK Thailand - In 1999, Ali Saleh Ali al-Hamiri had eye surgery
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 3, 2007
      ARABS TURNING TO ASIA AND AWAY FROM U.S. FOR MEDICAL CARE
      MALCOLM FOSTER
      Associated Press


      BANGKOK Thailand - In 1999, Ali Saleh Ali al-Hamiri had eye surgery at
      Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, one of many trips he and his
      family made from the United Arab Emirates to the U.S. for medical
      treatment.

      But after Sept. 11, 2001, he and his relatives have been flying
      instead to Bumrungrad International hospital in Bangkok, joining a
      growing wave of Middle Easterners flocking to Southeast Asia for
      affordable, high quality health care.

      "I feel more comfortable in Asia," said al-Hamiri, 35, as he sat on a
      sofa in the hospital's marble-floored lobby.

      Tighter U.S. visa restrictions and fears among many Arabs that they
      will be mistreated in the United States or Europe another traditional
      destination for health care are key reasons behind the shift.

      But the number of Arab patients traveling to Asia has surged as word
      has gotten back to the Persian Gulf that the quality of medical care
      offered at Bumrungrad and other top hospitals in Singapore and
      Malaysia is similar to the U.S. and Western Europe and far cheaper.

      Meanwhile, the U.S. health care industry is losing about $500 million
      a year from the Arab world due to restrictive U.S. visa policies, the
      Washington-based National Arab-U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimated in a
      2004 study.

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