Health Care, Halfway Around the World

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 ...
by | October 18, 2007

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.

Josh Goodman
Josh Goodman  |  Former Staff Writer
mailbox@governing.com

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