Wednesday, December 09, 2009

President Obama’s Path-breaking Health Care Policy – Need Something Similar in India

Just stumbled across this website of the White House showing Barack Obama presiding over a meeting. I also viewed a summary of Obama's famed Health Care Policy, salient points of which appear below.

But before I go into that, let me detail my personal encounter with health-care in India. I remember falling ill with a stomach infection last year. I was admitted. The bill came to Rs 28,000 for a 3 or 4 day residency in the local hospital. When it came to settling my insurer cut down the amount to half what was due. This, despite paying my premiums on time and going holiday-less for months. Hmm. We need an Obama here to upgrade our health-care system. Fast!

"Ends discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions.

"Over the last three years, 12 million people were denied coverage directly or indirectly through high premiums due to a pre-existing condition. Under the President's plan, it will be against the law for insurance companies to deny coverage for health reasons or risks.

"Limits premium discrimination based on gender and age.

"The President's plan will end insurers' practice of charging different premiums or denying coverage based on gender, and will limit premium variation based on age.

"Prevents insurance companies from dropping coverage when people are sick and need it most.

"The President's plan prohibits insurance companies from rescinding coverage that has already been purchased except in cases of fraud. In most states, insurance companies can cancel a policy if any medical condition was not listed on the application – even one not related to a current illness or one the patient didn't even know about. A recent Congressional investigation found that over five years, three large insurance companies cancelled coverage for 20,000 people, saving them from paying $300 million in medical claims - $300 million that became either an obligation for the patient's family or bad debt for doctors and hospitals." So on….

In India medical insurance stops at age 75, after that you are on your own. What do I do when I turn 75? It's cruel, very cruel. Growing old is cruel in India, they don't care; they take you for granted and will you to die.

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