Saturday, March 04, 2006


This week President Bush, who has just visited India, expressed the opinion that America should not be afraid of outsourcing tech jobs to India. We agree with him, as outsourcing is simply one aspect of free trade.

Here is one area in which outsourcing would be good. Medical care. Recently we read of an American, stooped with a back injury, and in need of two operations (estimated at $100,000 total). He flew to India and got the two operations for a total of $10,000. He praised the medical care providers and was glad he outsourced. My doctor friend expressed concern about the operations and aftercare. He was right, as the patient is not really qualified to determine whether the operation (“procedure”) was a success, or was a bargain. It was affordable.

One objection to outsourcing medical services, is the problem of screening out the incompetent practitioner and the outright quack. That could be resolved by international licensing, with malpractice insurance or financial security required, and with an international court to handle the claims. This could be an administrative procedure, similar to workers compensation laws, and we could even eliminate the jury trial lawyers in such cases, if that would sugar coat the pill.

We envision a promoter medical care provider putting an MRI, and a CAT scan, and a regular Xray machine, all on-line, and running 24-7. The machines send the pictures to India, where they are read by qualified people under a system in which the patient is guaranteed compensation for malpractice. Recently there was a news article that said that cancer in the brain often goes undiagnosed; and that some could be diagnosed with an MRI. This is only one example of how to improve health care and make it more available. Free trade.

Yes, free trade in the USA would be the logical place to start, but the trade-union, protectionist element of the American Medical Association makes reform in this country a slow, tough process.