Sunday, March 21, 2010

Healthcare - Why Manmohan Should Follow in Obama's Footsteps

In India we are used to absolute zero healthcare. Healthcare professionals look to earn a commission when they refer a patient to a higher specialist. Till recently doctors were in cahoots, well sort of, with pharmaceutical companies - who gave them expensive junkets abroad in exchange for prescribing their drugs. The company executives, yes those smart representatives in striped ties, measured the prescriptions originating from the doctor by monitoring the stock of the local pharmaceutical companies. I know of a doctor who wrote prescriptions on the stationery provided by the pharmaceutical companies, and of course can he ignore the name of the drug that is clearly visible on the stationery? No, nyet, nahi, nathi.

Once in my naive avatar, I was super-confident in the belief that I had mediclaim. But when I was hospitalised for a minor ailment and presented a bill of Rs 28,000 to the insurance company, they paid me half that amount after six months and endless letters, threats, and follow-up phone calls.

From Ru Freeman's account below I guess US will fare better and Sri Lanka is already better as far as healthcare is concerned. But what about reforms in healthcare in Bharatvarsh? Guess Manmohan will have to do an Obama for that.

About Obama's healthcare plan two women writes in support as follows:

Ru Freeman writes:

"In order to ask such a question, Sri Lankans would have to be suffering the same deprivations that Americans suffer today. They would also have to take it as a given that health care is something that is not commonly provided to all but, rather, reserved for a few. In the absence of those realities, no Sri Lankan child could conceive of a society where people are routinely denied medical care, where children remain un-vaccinated, and where the elderly perish because they cannot afford to visit a doctor."

Claudi Ricci writes:

"But health care legislation looks to be a go. It's a fabulously historic moment for sure. It isn't the bill that liberal Democrats most wanted (no public option) but it's a huge step forward. It provides affordable coverage to 32 million Americans who have no insurance; it keeps insurance companies from denying coverage -- or hiking rates-- to sick people who most need it. It lowers drug costs for seniors, it promotes preventive care, and miracle of miracles, according to the Congressional Budget Office, it even reduces the national debt."

3 comments:

ms said...

as a person living in a country where healthcare is just a word hospitals incorporate in their names to impress the NRIs, i am confused about this hullaballoo in the US. how can one improve on a service that is functioning a full 100%? if obama was eager to include those disadvantaged people with zero income to receive subsidised healthcare, while taxing those who are earning, then he has succeeded. that is all what he has done, right under the non-afro-american noses. india has a long way to go before any such welfare schemes are launched. other countries can do it since there is some honesty and accuracy in providing documentation and information. in a nation where forged documents and spurious medical certificates are sold at street corners, it is not possible. i have heard stories similar to yours about claimimg on medical insurances. people have a difficult time signing up for life insurance, writing up wills before the age of seventy (most people overseas have a will drawn up before their 30th birthday). medical insurances (like travel insurance) will take some time before they provide good service.

Janit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Janit said...

I came here wanting to write...but seems MS has made the point well....not just healthcare - even healthcare education is in turmoil....1 years' fees to become a doctor in Gujarat is 10 lac...so to become a doctor either u inherit a hospital or are amongst those for whom there are reserved seats....healthcare reforms still have to wait a long time in a nation which has the worlds youngest population.