American medical tourism to Cuba to stay illegal

Media suggestions that it is or soon will be legal for American medical tourists to go to Cuba are wrong. Although the USA has freed up many regulations on American trips to Cuba, there are no plans to lift the ban on medical tourism.

Cuba is not keen on an influx of Americans. Its healthcare services have been struggling so much that a new ban has been put on Cuban doctors moving to work overseas.

The US Departments of Commerce and Treasury jointly published a new list of exemptions to the Cuban embargo since President Obama began the process to liberalize engagement with Cuba in December 2014.

The Cuban economy is primarily a state run economy in the hands of state owned companies. All healthcare is state run.

Medical tourism agencies hoping for a new market have hit a wall, as all overseas bookings in Cuban hospitals and clinics are controlled by state agency Servimed.

For US hospitals and clinics hoping to launch in Cuba – the newest US regulations do not make this possible- and even if they did it would make no difference as Cuba has no plans to lose control over all hospitals and clinics.

A new US general license allows air ambulances and emergency medical services to travel to and from Cuba and to evacuate individuals requiring medical care. But all talk of inbound or outbound medical tourism is based on false hope from people who have not read the regulations or understood how Cuban healthcare works…

Read full story at IMTJ

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