Monday, July 11, 2005

Moving surgery offshore Moving surgery offshore

Interesting new phenomena - moving surgery offshore.

I was talking to a good friend today, and he mentioned that one of our ski guides had flown to India for a hip replacement, and then was on skis six weeks later. Turns out, with Canada's socialized medical system, it would have been three years before he could have had it done locally. This was three years when he wouldn't have been able to work at his chosen profession.

Apparently, facing that three year wait, he had queried his well-to-do clients on the matter, and someone turned him on to Indian hip replacements.

Then, one of the guys who skiis with us did the same. Apparently, it is cheaper to fly to India and have it done, than to have it done here in the U.S. Interestingly, this guy is an MD, board certified in sports medicine.

This is interesting to me for a number of reasons. One is that apparently the Indian docs and their facilities are comparable to what we have here, yet they can move a lot faster and more cheaply. For example, the ski guide had a week wait, instead of the three years the Canadian socialized medical system offered.

Our medical system has gotten quite bloated over the last number of decades. Physicians make too much, and hospitals gouge - to support both inefficient practices and to cross-subsidize their indigent and some not so indigent patients.

Of course, they are skimming the cream. They aren't (yet) being funded by insurance or our governments. The whole discussion started when this friend pointed out that his girlfriend needed such an operation - but because she is not healty, she is not a candidate for this Indian surgery.

But still, I think that this is significant.

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