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.

Gratitude List – December 3, 2011

Saturday was the first day of this winter season that I had to wear a pullover the whole day. The last few years have been warmer than normal and I had not worn any woolens except for a few late nights or very early mornings. One of the deciding factors for our moving to Pune was its winter season and I had missed those the last few years. I began to enjoy the old temperature again.

Mitali as ever helpful, brought some butter/nut biscuits that my father likes. She also brought some chickkoos from her garden. She stayed on for lunch and a long chat in the afternoon. Things are beginning to work out for her and I am happy for her.

Sunday morning, 6 am, I was making coffee for my father and tea for me when my father walked into the kitchen and asked me if there was a likelihood that the surgeon made a mistake while revising my hip joint prosthesis! His paranoid mind must have been mulling over this all night as he still sees me hobbling around with a walker nine weeks after surgery. Since he does not listen to what we tell him, using his hardness of hearing as an excuse, he keeps imagining all kinds of scenarios about everything.

The point of that little story is to highlight my gratitude for not being like that and for having a surgeon who, in my opinion, has done a remarkable job on three separate occasions and ensured that I was able to carry out a far more important duty for eight years.

Later, Pradeep who is no stranger to these pages came over for lunch and a chat but left before I could wake up from my siesta. He did not come empty handed. He brought jalebis and rabri.

On Monday morning, I discovered that two pairs of Red-vented bulbuls, have nested in our garden’s outer hedge.

They used to regularly do so every year but had stopped the last three seasons, no doubt due to the presence of a number of cats in the locality. The cat population seems to have come down, and I am able to see some sparrows which too had stopped visiting our garden. Once I am able to get down into the garden I intend resuming putting bird seed down for them everyday as I used to till they stopped. That would also get the pigeons and doves to come down into the garden.

I had ordered for a copy of a book on Shiva that I had read some time ago and had given away to someone. I wanted to re-read it as I had recently finished reading the sequel to it. It came just at the right time for me to read myself to sleep in the afternoon and again in the night. It was worth the re-read.

Ranjan and I had the chickoos from Mitali’s garden, for breakfast on Tuesday and were surprised at their sweetness. I sent an sms message to her to thank her and she promptly offered to climb the tree again and pluck some more for us!

My daughter in law Leena made and sent across a remarkably well made sambar. Even my father appreciated it, and that is saying something!

On Tuesday evening, I was exposed to two forwarded mails which moved me. The sender, a dear friend, knew that they would move me and sent them along in succession to get the right impact. I posted about both of them on Wednesday.

My friends Nat and Usha about who I had written last December, paid me a surprise visit on Wednesday. It was a delightful reunion for the surprise element of it.

The photograph does not do justice to them as I took the photograph using my cell phone and while sitting on my throne!

If there was one event during the week that I was most thankful for, that happened on Thursday. One of my father’s bank transactions had to be transacted, and Ranjan and I had planned to get it done on Friday. My father got all antsy and was annoyed at what he called our dilly dallying and since Ranjan had fixed other appointments, I had to request Leena to help and she spared her assistant Sandeep who cheerfully handled the matter.

I perhaps sounded pathetic, but my bank sent an executive across to my home to complete some formalities with my account, on Saturday. My father who is a hard core public sector votary was quite impressed! I also got news that Anil is now fully recovered and active and making life miserable for a lot of people who would rather that he was ill and stayed at home. Anil, I hope that you are reading this.