National Healthcare vs Private.

I hope that you enjoy reading this post on the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where eleven of us write on the same topic. Today’s topic has been chosen by Shackman. The ten other bloggers who write regularly are, in alphabetical order, Delirious, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Maxi, Maria SF, Padmum, Paul, Rohit,Shackman, The Old Fossil and Will. Do drop in on their blogs and see what their take is on this week’s topic. Since some of them may post late, do give some allowance for that too!


I am writing this post well in advance to Friday as between Thursday and Sunday I will be out of Pune visiting relatives and generally having a good time.

In India, there is hardly any choice. Most good health care is in the Private sector and what there is in the Public sector is pathetic though effective for the hordes of poor patients who throng to Government hospitals and clinics. And in most of these places, there is petty corruption and as usual, the poor suffer. The middle and upper income groups do not go anywhere near these facilities and either have their own resources to finance health care or take insurance policies, often on a participatory basis withe employers. Insurers are of both the Public and Private sector companies and though rather bureaucratic and unpredictable, appear to be doing a reasonably good job of reimbursing expenses.

I personally do not have any health insurance as the one most important problem for which I am likely to incur expenses, is automatically excluded for being a pre-existing condition since 1981. Ranjan’s inheritance suffers.

For those interested, here is an interesting article on the current situation and some initiatives on the drawing board.

Not to ignore Shackman who has got this topic off his chest and to show off my international credentials (:-)), here is a startling piece of writing that needs to be read by all Americans. Many years ago, I was privileged to see Sicko by Michael Moore when the group of Indians that I saw the movie with, all Indians, felt that we did the right thing by not emigrating to the USA! Canada and the United Kingdoms still offer better choices to their citizens though the latter seems to be coming under some pressure in the recent past.

The NYT article also mentions the cost of hip replacement surgeries in the USA and that is what actually took me to the article referred to me by a friend from the USA who wanted to tell me how lucky I am living in India. I already knew that, but having been on the table five times for the privilege I know how much it cost here and how hard it was for me to pay for them. That is neither here nor there as, irrepective of whether they were health care financed or private, in India, for me they would have still meant the same difficulty as the state infrastructure would not have done them for me nor the private insurers covered them for a pre-existing condition.

I guess that wherever we live, all of us have to tackle our health issues with difficulty bar in Canada and some European countries besides of course the Oil funded Arabian states where all citizens get just about everything free, including cost of treatment in India or in the West.

20 thoughts on “National Healthcare vs Private.”

  1. The NHS is indeed coming under some pressure right now. The government is hell-bent on privatising every aspect of it they can, by one sneaky means or another. Fortunately they haven’t got very far yet and it’s still possible to get high-quality medical treatment on the public purse, though you may have to wait a while if it’s considered non-urgent. Oh, and A&E departments are under severe pressure from rapidly rising admissions, though no one is quite sure why that is.
    Nick recently posted..The slippery slope

  2. Ramana, do not automatically believe what Michael Moore tauts. He often actually lies, and spins things in a dishonest way. He is extremely liberal, and will do ANYTHING to smear the conservative view of things. I can show you videos that take the opposite stance, and that show how inferior the Canadian government health program is. It’s really all in the attitude of the maker of the film. Now, whether or not you agree with government health care, that is another issue. As you have said, it often is inferior. But do not take Michael Moore’s word on it!
    Delirious recently posted..Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium: National Healthcare VS. Private

  3. After reading D’s comment, I had to respond again. She’s right, Michael Moore is not all that popular here. In the Sicko documentary he fudged facts, staged scenes, edited photos and actually lied.

    When my husband was in the military, he spent time in Cuba. He said the health care facilities are dirty and the care is deplorable. There were times soldiers couldn’t even get an aspirin.

    I owned a clothing boutique for years and every season a group of women from Canada would come to shop. They complained about the high taxes to cover health care, long lines, and months of waiting to have a test or longer for surgery.

    They said their doctors come to America for their care and operations.

    One woman’s husband waited so long for a colonoscopy … he died.

    There is no perfect answer but I pray Obamacare is overturned.
    blessings ~ maxi
    Maxi recently posted..The Weirdo Who Loves to Wake Up In the Morning

  4. I’m just back from New York City, where I was the only Canadian in attendance at Pfizer’s 1st Rheumatoid Arthritis Blogger Summit. I have always been aware of the differences between our system and that of our neighbour to the south.

    After hearing some of the experiences of the other attendees, with their insurance paper nightmares, as well as the issues surrounding access to specialists, I am so grateful for our healthcare system. Granted, there are a lot of inefficiencies in our system, and it is far from perfect. Here is an article in the paper this past week, talking about wait times:

    Yes, I have been on lengthy waiting list for surgeries, but overall, I had excellent care when I did have my surgeries. I think about when my mom spent the better part of a year in the hospital, being treated for ovarian cancer, and the great care she had.

    I have good doctors. I also seek out other methods to look after my health, which actually has reduced my trips to the doctor’s office. (Yay!)

    I’m glad that you are enjoying the sights and sounds of Pune. Don’t get into too much trouble, Ramana! 😉

  5. I’ve seen “Sicko.” It’s one of the most appalling things about our country. I’m in that underinsured group – I am not employed by a company so I can’t get corporate-sponsored insurance, and since I am self-employed I’m not eligible for state-sponsored insurance. So I have to buy a private plan, which has enormous deductibles. A run-in with cervical cancer ended up costing me $15,000 dollars out of my own pocket – the insurance picked up very little of it. Our system is broken.
    Secret Agent Woman recently posted..A little randomness from an off-line weekend.

  6. Hi Rummy,

    Excellent topic.
    Portugal has an excellent public health care and a so and so expensive private health care (most rich people use the public health care system for its quality). My only criticism is the amount of time certain patients (those exempt from any form of payment) have to wait for a surgery – still, it is not as bad as in countries like Brazil.

    Although I am in favour of a public health care, I defend a reform of the system because as it is things are not sustainable.
    The whole welfare state as it is, in Europe, is beginning to prove itself unsustainable.

    Max Coutinho recently posted..Rumour: The Palestinian State in the Sinai Peninsula

    1. If what you say is true, I am very happy for the Portugese. Taking a complete swing away from the welfare state will be disastrous as has been experienced by many others. We have to find a via media. Norway comes to mind.

      1. It is not a perfect health system (it still has a lot to improve, regarding medical technology) but it works well. I do not suggest a complete swing away from the welfare state: only a reform (to reduce waste). Norway is a great example because everybody pays taxes (and I mean everybody), so of course their welfare state is sustainable – the same does not happen in other countries, Portugal included.
        Max Coutinho recently posted..Rumour: The Palestinian State in the Sinai Peninsula

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