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More Americans turning to medical tourism

Saturday - 7/2/2011, 4:21pm  ET

WASHINGTON -- While politicians continue to debate over health care, many Americans are voting with their passports and leaving the country to find treatment.

NursingCenter.com estimates that in 2010, roughly six million Americans traveled abroad for health care. The reasons include quicker treatment and access to procedures that aren't approved in the U.S.

Price can be a factor, too. For example, a coronary bypass that costs a $140,000 in America is only $25,000 in Costa Rica and just $8,500 hundred in India, according to NursingCenter.com.

The outcome can be better than in the U.S, too. The Japanese have consistently lower infant mortality rates and longer life spans, yet American health care is twice as expensive.

WTOP's Evan Haning contributed to this report.

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)