Medical Tourism in India: Healing the World but Hurting a Nation?
AbstractMedical tourism is a booming industry in India, and experts predict that by 2012 medical tourists will pump $2.2 billion into the Indian economy (MacReady, 2007, 1,850). But what does this mean for Indians? This paper addresses the following questions: Is the industry’s tremendous growth a positive development for the masses of Indians that do not directly benefit from it? When thousands of Indians die every year from illnesses that modern medicine has made easily preventable, should the Indian government create policies and use public funds to assist private hospitals that respond predominantly to the demands of the rich and foreign? Is medical tourism healing the world but hurting a nation? After briefly describing the present situation of medical tourism in India and establishing the ethical dilemmas resulting from it, I will argue that a concept of cosmopolitan nationalism must guide solutions to these dilemmas. Medical tourism in India will become an ethical success only by becoming a national success—a success that unites Indians by representing not only what they have to offer the world, but also what they have to offer each other.
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