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.