Sunday, December 13, 2009


His eyes welled and out came the unending flow of tears. My 3 year old cousin had a fall while showing his Usain Bolt like running skills. The car park in my Coorg farm house had big stone slabs with streaks of grass running in between. His fall was met with accompanying sighs and moans from his mother and mine. I ran towards him and decided to step up and talk to him man to man or rather male to male. I intended to tell him that he should be strong and not be worried my minor accidents that will toughen him up and make him strong. He particularly liked the word strong and everytime I uttered it he slowly stopped crying. We sat in front of the garden with Chrysanthums and Geraniums lightening up the mood for a good conversation. We heard the bamboo tree rattle and wondered if it was an Elephant. My cousin was convinced that it was a Dragon. Having taken his mind of the wound I slowly decided to see the damage it caused. I saw a big fat wound with blood covered all over it. The flesh was visible and the skin ruptured. It felt painful by just looking at it. Luckily my dad had a friend working in the Government hospital and we eventually decided to take him to every kid’s dreaded place. As I sat in one of the broken seats in the hospital, I couldn’t help but wonder about the health care in India.

To start with, we must know that the Indian government has NO form of organized health care. We just have plain hospitals with doctors holding strikes for more salaries and obsolete technology. I can vouch for the obsolete technology because I have been inside one. On the other hand the western countries have free health care. Yes, free health care. By that I mean that the citizens of the country get free treatments irrespective of the nature of the disease and costs incurred. In short all the expenditure is taken care by the Government. Budgets are allocated and adequate care is provided. On the other hand in India, we have to pay for these services even if it is in a Government owned hospital.

As I taught about the pitiable condition in India I thought of the most hilarious conditions in the USA. The U.S is most affected by the economic downturn and unemployment is at an all time high.(As I am writing this there has been a substantial reduce in unemployment) Studies show that a majority of them have been pushed to the brink of penury solely because of high costs in health care. In America, you have to be insured to get health care services. If you are uninsured, the costs of getting medical attention are equivalent to buying a BMW. Therefore, it is mandatory to have an insurance policy to get these health care benefits. Here is the catch; most insurance companies work on the basis of maximization of profits. Most companies pick people with no health problems and deny health care to the older citizens and people with existing medicated conditions. Furthermore, to those citizens who get these insurance benefits they are denied care due to various cleverly crafted reasons. The insurance companies craft a 50 page document with terms and conditions. These documents have a plenty of loopholes and the agents are trained to manipulate the buyer into signing the documents making him/her believe that the document is a just a formal procedure and health care will be delivered when necessary. Needless to say, at the time of trouble they are denied care. Each cross means profits to the company and an appraisal in the form of promotion and bonuses to the agent who denied health care.

For years together these insurance companies have plundered the citizens of American and have gotten away with it. The funny fact is, America’s most hated nation and a nation whom WE HAVE BEEN TOLD to revile at, Cuba; have free government owned health care! What a JOKE!
Hillary Clinton tried to introduce a government owned health care during Bill Clinton’s time as a president. Immediately brouhaha broke out and the senate wanted Hillary to mind her own business. She was scoffed by (controlled) T.V channels and there was an air of commotion which eventually made her give up the task and restricted her to attend school functions and interact with children. I pity the sad lady for her valiant efforts. Which leaves us with Barack Obama, the ONLY president who has dared to confront the issues and take measures to end this crisis.

If this bill is passed it simply means that EVERYBODY gets free health care immaterial of whether one is poor or rich. This is short will be the end of insurance companies ransacking people. Yes, the taxes are going to be increased for supporting the billion dollar bill, but my reasoning is, there is no harm in doing so because people are suffering because of lack of care. Skeptics may argue that now is not the time to do so, but rest assured that the next president will NOT take up this task. Besides, when you are evening out the expenses everyone stands to benefit. It is high time America passes this bill and gets quality healthcare. Time will tell if petty politics can be put aside for the interest of the people. We’ll just wait and watch.


Kirti Mohan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kirti Mohan said...

The Health Care Support offered by the American Government to its citizens is indeed a very exceptional idea. In India, the irony is that even if we have medical insurances especially the ones from private insurance companies, even minor hospital expenses are seldom covered. I recollected this particular incident when my mother was hospitalized for an endoscopy at Mangalore’s KMC Hospital. My mother has a history of Asthma and has also suffered Pulmonary Embolism in the past which has kept her Blood Pressure spiraling all the time. We were denied insurance by the TTK merged ICICI insurance policy on the grounds of her having high blood pressure at the time of admission. And the best part is, the insurance policy was constantly deducting the amount from her credit card which she never used and one fine day we receive a statement stating we owe the bank a whopping fifteen thousand bucks! That is how trust worth and reliable our insurance services are here in India.

Besides, I couldn’t agree more with your opinion about the awful condition our Government hospitals are in, a visit last year with the college’s red cross cell to Lady Goshen’s Maternity Hospital was a total reality check. The maternity wards are so cluttered and unhygienic and the services offered there are way below standards and do not match the basic standard of modern infrastructure. When children are delivered in Government hospitals it is a mandatory rule that every mother be provided with certain initial care amenities such as diapers, feeding bottles etc. on asking a few patients I was told that they weren’t even aware that such a provision existed under the law and now that’s the condition of our Public Awareness Programs. The little benefits received by Government hospitals are purely because of the few donors who are from the public and no where from the Government. Another incident was when a friend’s uncle passed away couple of years back. Wenlock hospital had just imported and laid down a so called high-tech mortuary to preserve the body under sub zero temperatures. The body was taken to the hospital one night and was to be buried the next morning, to everyone’s astonishment, the body was completely in a decomposed state during recovery and had a very filthy stench. The reason – the clerk who supervised the morgue had “forgotten” to switch the power supply on. This is the condition of the Medical Negligence prevalent in our country.

India is in no way doing any good when it comes to medical services and growth. Our country has absolutely only apathy towards the diseased. The medical facility providing agencies have only one goal of making money. The entire philosophy of medicine being a noble profession is nothing but a joke at least in the Indian context. Also, the fundamental right to IMMEDIATE medical attention to someone who is injured or on the brink of death is totally disregarded and awareness about the same hasn’t been provided at all. No wonder the death rate in our country is that much!

Well written. Liked the way you began with the anecdote with the description of the Government hospital. The article on the whole is very insightful and brought me to think of this huge menace!

Adi said...

It is a similar scenario in America as far as insurance companies denying healthcare is concerned.
Its a good thing that Obama is taking up this forgotten and suppressed issue.

As far as India is concerned, the least said the better. On a positive note, we don't have to spend the equivalent of a 100bucks and odd for a tablet. he he.

Are you for or against capitalism ?

Kirti Mohan said...

Ha ha.. True!

I am for Mixed Economy.. :)