Josh Goodman is a former staff writer for GOVERNING..E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
At Governing's management conference last week, a former hospital administrator mentioned at dinner that some private companies are sending employees to India for open heart surgery.
The doctors, he explained, are U.S. trained, the data shows that the hospitals perform well, and, even after the travel costs, India is a much cheaper option than the U.S.
Everyone at the table agreed that this approach isn't going to catch on with public employees anytime soon. Legislators would view it as a PR nightmare, unions would object, etc.
That's probably right, but the discussion seemed to me to say something about the concept of consumer-driven health care. If I needed open heart surgery, I'd be scared to have it done in India, even at a low price. Why? Because of the low price.
Advocates of consumer-driven health care think that it will reduce costs, as patients shop around for cheaper treatment. That will only happen, though, to the extent the public can get past the nagging suspicion that the truism "you get what you pay for" is, in fact, true.
Written and compiled by staff writers and editors, GOVERNING View is an on-the-ground, and sometimes behind-the-scenes, look at the topics we're covering in print and online. From notes on what's up in statehouses, county courthouses and city halls, to encounters with people, places and things, GOVERNING View is a window into the side of state and local government you don't always see.