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Health care - systemic crisis?

Do you live in Bangalore? Were you or someone in your family hospitalized in recent times? Do you have an insurance cover? If the answers to all the above questions are 'yes', then there is a great chance that you (and/or insurance company) paid an inflated bill. Worse still, there is a chance the hospitalization was not required in the first place! Now, take the questions again and if the answer to last question is 'no', let God save you. I have observed that in the last 5-8 years, the medical expenses have increased many fold, esp. for hospitalization. Is it that more people have insurance cover, so they can "afford" to pay more and so costs for everyone has increased? Is this a pure demand/supply equation? Should hospitals be run like a corporate houses? What is the govt. trying to do about it? Should we do something about it? Given the condition of govt. hospitals, where do the urban poor go for treatment? Are they forced to go to quacks? Or wait till doctors in tier-2 cities and towns start medical tourism packages for the urban poor??!!
murali772's picture

the noble profession

Navshot avare'

Particularly healthcare and education were considered 'noble' fields until recent years, where professionals were not supposed to make money. So much so, even as engineers' and other professionals' salaries shot up with liberalisation, doctors and teachers continued to get a raw deal. Even as recently as some 6 years back, my own nephew opted for engineering, inspite of having an aptitude, inclination and better CET ranking for medicine. His logic was plain and simple - you slog for over 6 + 1 + 2 years minimum, and at the end of it all, get a stipend one tenth of what an engineer gets after just a 4-year degree course. There was no comparison.

Somewhere along, thereafter, things changed, with the advent of the Corporates onto the scene, and yes, things may have gone to the other extreme in some cases. But, simultaneously, please also understand that the average life expectancy has gone up considerably. Whereas the common man generally succumbed to heart attacks earlier, today, he lives on with bye-pass surgery becoming far more affordable. And, even as a Wokhardt targets the well-heeled customers, the Narayana Hrudayalaya and its clones are competing for custom from the middle classes and lowering the charges constantly for equally good quality services, but without the frills. I have written more on this at

 And, more importantly, medicine is beginning to get acceptance as a preferred career choice amongst the youth. And, in my opinion, as noble or ignoble as any other profession.

And, as for the poor, this experience narrated to me by a youngster (click on: ) should explain the position fairly clearly, apart from the reports appearing in the press with regular periodicity.

I am not saying everything is right the way it is going. There are many course corrections required. But, I think it is evolving, and government could help by playing the role of an effective regulator.


Muralidhar Rao

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