July 17, 2006


Need an operation? Here's your air ticket to ... India (JANE H. FURSE, 7/17/06, NY DAILY NEWS)

Don't look now, but that operation you've been putting off may be outsourced - to India.

American companies are encouraging workers to travel to India and other countries for costly medical procedures, Business Insurance magazine reports.

"It saves you literally tens of thousands of dollars," said Bonnie Blackley, benefits director at Canton, N.C.-based Blue Ridge Paper Products.

A heart valve replacement, for example, that runs between $68,000 and $198,000 in the United States costs only $18,000 in India.

Blackley said that although her company's survival depended on keeping medical costs in check, local health care providers "offered no extra discount or anything."

So she contracted with IndUShealth, a "medical tourism" company that specializes in arranging employee travel to accredited hospitals and board-certified physicians in India.

The beauty of it is that Americans won't fly a French plane to their Indian heart operation.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 17, 2006 8:06 AM

It was obvious from Hillarycare on down that off-shore medical facilities out of the reach of our voracious bureaucracy will be built with American-type efficiency and service at third world prices. Patients from Canada and the UK will want in too.

Going to India for private medical attention, I don't think, will resonate well with Americans, but I think it's only a matter of time now which of the independent island states in the West Indies will offer it first.

Posted by: erp at July 17, 2006 9:55 AM


Quite. There's no good reason you couldn't pick up one of those Indian clinics and relocate it to Anguila to get a bigger slice of the American market.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at July 17, 2006 10:31 AM

Yes, free people make choices that benefit them. Indians already have a presence in the Caribbean so a smooth transition would be possible.

Posted by: erp at July 17, 2006 11:30 AM

End the blockade in Cuba so patients can shorten their flight times.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at July 17, 2006 11:57 AM

It'll be a new status symbol, being abole to get surgery quickly and being able to afford flying out of the country to do it.

Posted by: Sandy P at July 17, 2006 12:23 PM

What about hospitals on indian reservations? It could be the next big thing after casinos.

Posted by: Dave at July 17, 2006 12:39 PM

Non-manufacturing high-end services is about all India can offer, given its screwy labor laws that prevent firing blue-collar workers.

Posted by: Gideon at July 17, 2006 2:21 PM

Other possible out-sourced services from India:

- Accounting. Auditing books of Fortune 500 companies, Sarbanes Oxley compliance, etc.
- Insurance (if India's financial laws permit).
- Legal (outside of courtroom: research, discovery, etc).
- Advertising: print, TV.
- Anything else needing brains w/minimal blue-collar workers.

Posted by: Gideon at July 17, 2006 2:34 PM

Dave, great idea about Indian Reservations.

Posted by: erp at July 17, 2006 3:21 PM