(1) A few weeks ago, Carl Garrett, a 60-year-old North Carolina resident, was packing his bags to fly to New Delhi and check into the plush Indraprastha Apollo Hospital to have his gall bladder removed and the painful muscles in his left shoulder repaired. Mr. Garrett was to be a test case, the first company-sponsored worker in the United States to receive medical treatment in low-cost India. But instead of making the 20-hour flight, Mr. Garrett was grounded by a stormy debate between his employer, which saw the benefits of using the less expensive hospitals in India, and his union, which raised questions about the quality of overseas health care and the issue of medical liability should anything go wrong. (2) With medical costs in India routinely 80 percent lower than in the United States, experts predict that globally standardized health care delivered in countries like India and Thailand will eventually change the face of the health care business.
(3) Providing health care to foreigners could generate $20 billion for India by 2012, according to a study by McKinsey & Company, the consulting firm, although McKinsey did not say how many patients that figure represents. With 150,000 overseas patients last year — though only a small fraction of them Americans — India is already the global leader in importing foreign patients for low-cost treatment. Its best hospitals have Western-trained doctors and are equipped with modern equipment.