Thursday, May 25, 2006

Surgical Vacation? The Rise of Medical Tourism

First it was call centers and software, now medicine. For years, American companies have been outsourcing jobs to places like India and Singapore. Now, thanks to skyrocketing U.S. health care costs, Americans are increasingly traveling abroad to obtain medical treatment - at a fraction of the cost charged by U.S. hospitals. It’s yet another indication of how inefficient the U.S. hospital system is, and how it will soon be forced to adapt to overseas competition.

In the meantime, so-called medical tourism companies like IndUSHealth and Planet Hospital are helping American patients make arrangements to visit hospitals - in countries like India, Thailand, Argentina, Mexico and Belgium - to undergo general and cosmetic surgical procedures. Instead of going on safari one might get a facelift and tummy tuck for $9,995 - airfare, meals and hotel all included. What a deal(!), assuming the operation is a success, of course. In India, for example, medical malpractice laws limit damage awards.

Question: Would you consider undergoing a common surgical procedure in a foreign hospital, say, 8,000 miles from home?

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The New York Knicks: How Low Can They Go?

Six weeks ago the New York Knicks’ season came to a merciful end. The 2005-06 team posted a 23-59 record, second-worst in the NBA, in spite of having the league’s highest payroll and $10 million-per-year coach, Larry Brown. Last night the Knicks’ situation got measurably worse when the Chicago Bulls were awarded the second-overall pick in next month’s NBA draft, a pick the Knicks would have owned if general manager Isiah Thomas hadn’t traded it to Chicago to obtain Eddy Curry, who struggled with injuries and conditioning after dealing with an irregular heartbeat. It gets worse. The Bulls also have the option of swapping first-round picks with the Knicks in the 2007 draft, a strong possibility considering that Chicago (41-41 and a playoff team last season) is well-positioned to further improve its roster. Meanwhile, cap-strapped New York will be hard-pressed to maneuver, considering its stable of overpaid, under-performing players.

So far it hasn’t happened, but the Knicks should buy out the last four years on Larry Brown’s contract and force Thomas to coach the mismatched group he has assembled. On the other hand, the Knicks may be hoping that Brown calls it quits on his own, as its unlikely he’ll suffer through a second season with the same group of players he coached last year. Either way, the Knicks will again be a losing team in 2006-07. I guarantee it.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Failing Forward

Welcome to the new blog presence of Failure Magazine. Current events have proven particularly interesting for Thanks to the Bush Administration virtually every American is talking about failure on a daily basis. Whether it's the war in Iraq, gas prices, Congressional scandals, war profiteering, the health care crisis, or immigration policy (just to name a few), Americans have been living during an unprecedented reign of error. Join the Failure editors and our readers as we comment on the issues of the day. We'll begin posting shortly. In the meantime, feel free to visit to read great stories, our "Failure of the Day," or to send us your comments. Remember, if you're not failing, you're not really trying...