As U.S. Doctors/Hospitals get Screwed, Will India Gain?

Next in line to get screwed big time in the U.S. is the healthcare system, by which we mean the American doctors and hospitals.

The big question is will India stand to gain from the collapse of the American healthcare system or will other nations like Singapore, Mexico, Israel, Phillipines or Poland reap the benefits.

As even the dodos know by now, manufacturing, IT and other well paying service sector jobs have all but disappeared in America – shipped off to low wage coolie nations like China, India or Mexico.

And the American healthcare system, which has engaged in a whole bunch of nefarious misdeeds that makes the Enrons and Worldcoms look like saints, could be the next to feel the impact.

Thanks to an unholy nexus between greedy insurance companies, callous hospitals, avaricious doctors and mercenary pharmaceutical companies, the healthcare system in America is now on the precipice of collapse. 

We’ve received medical care in India, Europe and the U.S. Frankly, medical care in the U.S.  – whether at hospitals or primary care physicians – is very mediocre, worse than what you can get at a private clinic/hospital in India.

The prices for medical procedures in the U.S. are beyond obscene.

As a result, radiology services have already started moving to India and other countries, and American patients and employers are increasingly abandoning U.S. hospitals and doctors for cheaper and better healthcare in countries like Mexico, India and Singapore.

Take a look (below) at the L.A.Times compiled chart of comparative pricing for medical procedures (click on image for better quality graphic):

Source: Los Angeles Times (November 1, 2008)

If you are without insurance in America, it’s the same as the poor in India – you will die. Because you ain’t going to receive any treatment despite all the nonsensical pharmaceutical association ads featuring the bus.

With 75 million people in the U.S. either uninsured or underinsured, you can imagine the looming disaster here.

Here’s an excerpt from the L.A.Times story:

Last year, 750,000 Americans traveled abroad for care, according to estimates by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, a Washington-based research center that’s part of the consulting firm Deloitte & Touche. Other analysts say the numbers are lower. But hardly anyone disputes that medical care, once a highly local business, is going global like never before. By 2010, Deloitte projects, 6 million consumers a year will venture outside the United States for medical treatment.

The idea of jetting off to India for heart surgery might strike some as a radical way to save money. But proponents say it’s a logical outgrowth of the globalization that’s reshaping the industry. 

Although Indian hospitals are trying to woo Americans/NRIs, medical tourism in India has yet to gain real traction.

Just as the software industry in India worked miracles without government help, if the Indian medical ecosystem can get their act together and set up a Nasscom-like organization, there’s an El Dorado out there in the army of sick American baby-boomers eager to hand over their dollars to Indian doctors and hospitals.

Is India up to the challenge?

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15 Responses to "As U.S. Doctors/Hospitals get Screwed, Will India Gain?"

  1. shuaib68   November 2, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    In Sri Lanka they provide medical facilities to all the citizens free of charge.

    Poor section of society, Middle class and even the rich people in certain cases go government hospital for serious cases. We have one of the best medical facilities in whole of asia.

    My son got a burn injury about 08 yrs ago. He was treated free until he recovered and even the post treatment care. The four children in our family all were born in Govt. hospitals abolutely free of charge. The government has allocated a fair chunk in the budget for free medical treatment it’s population Responds:

    You write: In Sri Lanka they provide medical facilities to all the citizens free of charge.

    That’s very nice & one that all countries must emulate.

    In the U.S., healthcare is very, very expensive. You’ll know how deep the rot is if you watch Michael Moore’s Sicko

    India has (or at least had) free medical care in government hospitals in theory but the hospitals are notoriously corrupt and we’ve seen doctors taking money from poor villagers. In the govt hospitals in cities, equipment don’t work, doctors are AWOL, the facilities are overcrowded, bribes are extorted…you get the picture.

  2. shuaib68   November 2, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    But, according to the statistical data that you have provided, we simply cannot understand why so much of money is charged for above mentioned treatments and surgeries.

    If it were to be at the same level of costs in our countries, then people would rather commit suicide than seeking treatmment. We have a full fledged cancer hospital where almost all the cancer patients receive treatments completely free.

    The Eye hospital does even transplants absolutely free according to the availability of eye donations. We have a separate eye bank where some people donate their eyes once they are dead by their relatives according to their written wishes when they pledge while they were living.

    Bypass surgeries are done at the cardiology unit. Dentals at the dental faculty institute. Only thing is that in most cases the patients are given a paticular date for the treatment according to the severity of the conditions. The most severe cases are taken up almost immediately.

    So, some people, they find the finance to go a private hospital to get the treatment done faster. Some even go to India for bypass surgeries and Kidney transplants.

    For the private treatments some people approach the “President’s fund” where the govt. gives away part of the cost of operation. Even the private hospital treatment won’t even cost 1/100th of the cost as above statistic.

    What about the emergency treatments in the US? Is that also charged for the treatments of accidents, bomb blast victims and other such immergency cases?

    In Sri Lanka any type of emergency treatment is carried out only at Emergency Ward of the Colombo Hospitals absolutely free. You should see the amount of bomb blast victims that are treated in our hospitals. They work round the clock. Responds:

    You write: What about the emergency treatments in the US? Is that also charged for the treatments of accidents, bomb blast victims and other such immergency cases?

    Emergency care in the U.S. is pathetic..the emergency rooms are overcrowded…there are patients in the corridors…the doctors are slow to see you…the wait is interminable…

    A few years back, we went to the emergency room because we had cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat). The whole exercise took about SEVEN or EIGHT hrs and cost, if our memory serves us right, about $1,800 (insurance paid the charges). All in all, the doctor saw us for no more than 10 minutes. No kidding.

    And, by the way there’s no such thing as a Govt hospital in most parts of the U.S.

  3. shuaib68   November 3, 2008 at 1:54 am

    You write: The whole exercise took about SEVEN or EIGHT hrs and cost, if our memory serves us right, about $1,800 (insurance paid the charges).

    Phew! that’s a huge amount when it’s compared with our private hospital costs.

    One of my uncles had a cardiac arrest and he was in the ICU/Cardiology unit of the Govt. Hospital for about 15 days of treatment. They took several tests and there was a whole lot of medical treatments given, but it was all absolutely no fee/charges. He died after few months.

    Even the delivery cost of caesarian section in the private hospitals, the charges remain somewhere between Rs. 40,000/- to 75,000/- (USD. 400/- to 750/-). Nothing more than that. Maximum it would be USD.1000/- equvalent if there’s any complications in it.

    But, in UAE there’s a Insurance scheme like in the US. The cost is relatively less when compared to US standards. In most cases the insurance is not covered for certain areas like the dental. Dental cost is high comparative to other treatments.

    The UAE also, trying to boost Medical tourism as an indutry. This was reported in a recent newspaper article that appeared in the Gulf News.

    This they are trying promote the medical sector as most of the UAE nationals are going abroad for treatments. They prefer to go to Thailand & India for treatments as the cost of such treatments cost them very dearly in the UAE. What we don’t know is how they are going to price the cost of certain treatments which are very expensive and which forcing their own nationals going out of the country in search of cheaper destinations.

    They are viewing this sector as another business opportunity to suck the money out of the patients. The Sri Lankans and Indians in turn, go to their own countries for complicated medical problems. It is quite cheap to go to their own countries for treatments rather than spending a huge sum out of their own pocket if it’s not covered by the Insurance package. Responds:

    All we can say is that Sri Lankans are very fortunate as far as medical care.

    The healthcare system is completely screwed up in the U.S.

    Even if you have insurance (remember 75 million are uninsured or underinsured), there are still lot of hassles like in-network doctors and labs, out-of-network, pre-approvals, increasing co-pays….

  4. the gora   November 3, 2008 at 2:36 am

    There was an article similar to the LA Times one that was published recently in Men’s Health titled, “Need Surgery? Call a Travel Agent.”

    Although medical malpractice lawsuits in the US are out of control and help to raise costs, many hospitals and insurance companies conveniently use it as an excuse to raise prices to astronomically absurd levels.

    My brother had to go to the ER a five years ago in Boston for what turned out to be a pilonidal cyst. He was working as a bartender for a year after graduating university and had no health insurance. He waited about four hours to see a doctor and when the doctor came in he was treated for about 15-20 minutes. He was charged $1,500. He then had to come back to the hospital I believe every other day for two weeks to have the wound area cleaned and redressed. Each of these visits which lasted about 10 minutes cost him $700. It’s pretty bad.

    However, having lived in the UK for 6 months, the NHS is bad too. Despite claiming that nationalized health care is great, everyone over there pines for a job that offers private health benefits because generally a visit to A & E at an NHS hospital will see you waiting 8 hours before meeting a doctor. The NHS hospitals are usually overcrowded and understaffed as well. Every other week there would be a story on the news about NHS hospitals being infested with rats and other pests. Obviously not all of them are like that, but generally the NHS takes a beating in the press. I have some friends that are NHS docs who say some stuff is blown out of proportion in the media, but they agree that in general the system is very poorly managed. Responds:

    You write: However, having lived in the UK for 6 months, the NHS is bad too

    Try telling that to the 75 million uninsured/underinsured people in this country.

    You seem to have drunk the Republican kool-aid about the evils of Socialized medicine. Some medical care is better than no medical care.

    There is no doubt in our minds that it’s the unholy nexus between greedy insurance companies, callous hospitals, avaricious doctors and mercenary pharmaceutical companies that is denying the most basic of rights to its citizens – healthcare.

    Future generation will look upon this era in American history with incredulity that some Americans could be so shameless or cruel toward so many other Americans.

    God knows how many tens of thousands have died in America becaused they couldn’t afford medical care.

  5. shuaib68   November 3, 2008 at 3:17 am

    Some important infomations about the Medical issues pertaining to the above article. pls check the following links:

    About Medical Tourism

    Statistics on Sri Lankan Health Programmes

    Free cancer treatments in Sri Lanka

  6. shuaib68   November 3, 2008 at 3:48 am

    One of Sri Lanka’s most modern facility equipped hospital on (Non-Profit/Profit) basis treatments. It was a gift from the Japanese Govt.

    The Institute of Cardiology

    Am I going too much deep into the subject???? If it’s irrelevant and annoying please let me know. I’m more like a Drug Addict getting doped and having a kick in discussing about a subject in deep… haaa, haa.

    Sometimes, certain subjects are bottomless pits. Responds:

    You write: Am I going too much deep into the subject???? If it’s irrelevant and annoying please let me know

    No, no, shuaib68. Please go ahead. You are doing a service.

    Also, you have stopped posting links to Al Jazeera stories. We guess that’s because we cracked a joke about the FBI knocking on our doors a few weeks ago about so many Al Jazeera links/stories here…As we said a moment ago that was just a joke…feel free to post any RELEVANT links, even if it’s Al Jazeera.

  7. ★TRΞY☆   November 3, 2008 at 4:20 am

    Hi Shuaib, I found this.. thought will share it with you. Not sure how youtube still has it on there.

  8. joeantony   November 3, 2008 at 5:19 am

    The concept of medical tourism has flourished in India..
    with a 50% cost of a surgery in US you can have a surgery done and after healing you could go for a tour to few top spots – provided as a package. Top medical institutions like Apollo have started provided these kinda packages… this new business is in the growth stage in India, once the insurance companies scope also comes in picutre (few systems have already started engineering this) more Americans will travel to rest of the world for treatments.

  9. shuaib68   November 3, 2008 at 8:07 am

    Okky Dokky,
    I thought, that was a serious one. There were some fine articles which is very much connected to the subjects we used to discuss mostly about. Because of your reference to FBI I stayed away from posting those items.

    Sorry, for my misunderstanding. I’m tube light.

  10. shuaib68   November 3, 2008 at 8:23 am

    Hi TREY (Gandhiji),
    How are you? thanks for the info. I have to check it out when I get back home and what…after the Ney Roast dumped into my system, I will see those clips. We don’t make ney rost all the time.

    BTW, I have added more of my crazy, funny photos in interpal. As you are a good friend of mine as SI too, I thought you might be interested to see them. Responds:

    Hrithik Roshan, Brad Pitt, Daniel Craig…step aside.

  11. ★TRΞY☆   November 3, 2008 at 10:16 am

    Nice Pics, Shuaib. You look much (atleast 10 years) younger than 40..

    And your son is smart too!

  12. shuaib68   November 3, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    Thank you, Trey & SI.

    Incidentally, I’ve got an offer from Kollywood to do a movie, Jamesu Baandoo 008 OATTA POOCHI (OCTOPUSSY)& NEE WAALNDU AWANUKKU AAPPU WEI (LIVE & LET DIE)

    Since, I know that it’s going to be a flop, I insured my house. Because, kolly guys have given a hint already that they will stone my house if they don;t like it. Responds:

    As long as it’s not James Gandoo, we’ll watch your movies for sure. 🙂

  13. shuaib68   November 3, 2008 at 12:30 pm


  14. shuaib68   November 3, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    Haaa…haaa. haaa…
    That’s a gooood one, boy. That’s a good one.

    To myself: why it didn’t strike me before…sighhh. James Gaandoo…what a fitting title!

    Naan oru naari pona naadhaari ( a gook )

    Hey, it’s almost 11:46 pm over here. My son & wife fast asleep. Naan Ingey Gummi adikkireyn (I’m having fun) by commenting…. Responds:

    Iravum Pagalum Ennaka Unmel Kannotam.

  15. the gora   November 3, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    SI, no system is perfect and every system can be exploited. For example, in the UK, there would be stories on the news about women from Nigeria who would come into the UK and not work but live off government benefits. When a women would discover that she could get an additional 300-500 pounds a month in housing allocations for having a baby, she would go back to Nigeria and return a few weeks later with an adopted/stolen baby, claim she had gotten pregnant and just had a baby and demanded to get her free money. Sometimes these people are caught and thrown in jail or deported and sometimes they got away with it. How is that right?

    There is also the example currently happening in Nebraska with their Safe Haven law where people are crossing state lines into Nebraska and abandoning their kids at hospitals in Omaha without fear of prosecution.

    I am without a job at the moment, but I am not wailing about not having health care as a result. It is only motivating me to get work quicker and faster to allow me to reap the rewards, such as health care, that come along with a good job. Responds:

    Your points (in the first paragraph) remind us of Ronald Reagan’s outcry against welfare queens driving in Cadillacs. It was all much ado about nothing.

    References to frauds/exploitation of some obscure loopholes of welfare or healthcare benefits are usually wildly exaggerated by opponents of any benefits to less privileged sections of society. You don’t shut down airports or highways just because there was one accident or shut down EZ Pass because one guy drove through without the white radio device.

    Unless this country has a single payer system like the UK’s NHS or Canada, there’s no hope. Businesses are increasingly unable to afford healthcare for employees and are dropping out altogether or continually increasing premiums.

    If you read the history of the Amercan auto industry, one of the key reasons the American auto industry is uncompetitive because of healthcare committments to present & past employees (shoddy workmanship & unimaginative designs are other culprits, of course).

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