India – “We Don’t Have Cheap Healthcare!” Well, cheaper, maybe….

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“Our medicos, in various fields, compete with the best in the world and India as a country represents high quality and not cheap healthcare,” Dr Panda noted. Panda, the head of the Asian Heart Institute  was reacting to US President Obama’s statement discouraging US Medicare recipients from visiting India or Mexico to get “cheap healthcare”.

Link to the article:
http://mangalorean.com/news.php?newstype=local&newsid=233992

 

Famed Indian surgeon Ramakant Panda claims “India does not represent cheap health care.” But such discussions on cost differentials in medical tourism don’t reflect the political hellfire of offshoring US Medicare patients.

We believe political influence and hospital company lobbying will shut the door on any discussions of Medicare payments going overseas.

I understand Dr. Ramakant’s take on Indian healthcare, it is correct. But Dr. Ramakant, and most overseas clinicians misunderstand the US political environment, and Medicare in particular.

As we wrote back in late 2010, a group of leading hospital chains in India, including Fortis Hospitals and Max Healthcare were planning to enter agreements for US patients. But this is a fundamental misunderstanding of the USA health care system.

As India and other countries increase their efforts to garner patients and revenues from the US, there will be tremendous pressure from US hospital companies. They will pressure Congress to prevent any outflow of US funds to another country’s health care system. And this will not be just for Medicare patients.

Look to US insurance companies also to be on the receiving end of both Congressional pressure and a concerted PR campaign for their efforts to “off-shore” US patients and US tax dollars.

And for members of Congress themselves, we certainly know they will come under intense political pressure for allowing US tax dollars to go to hospitals in another country

In light of record federal budget deficits, a sinking dollar, and political realities we see little hope for exporting US tax dollars to India, Mexico or any other country’s healthcare system…..HK

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On May 20, 2011
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