What should the Government have done to help the poor as well as to not harm the middle/upper class?1. Create 4 classes of stents instead of current 2 classes. 2. Leave the last one uncapped, so those who could afford have access to newer tech. 3. Adopt an ala carte approach, making available stents at Rs. 7000, Rs. 28000, Rs. 85000 and uncapped. 4. Provide first two only through RGJAY and other schemes. 5. Use the expertise of public sector rate contracts and declare the rates at which all varieties of stents can be bought into India. Get these prices in public domain for everyone’s knowledge and information. 6. Audit the procedures in public and private hospitals through a third party. 7. Audit individual cardiologist’s annual performance to know for which class he is working more. 8. Consider SEZs for implant companies to manufacture these high end products in India. These suggestions were provided by Dr. Sanjay Oak in his article in Mumbai Mirror. This is how a handbook of bad policy would read. First, impose price controls. Then watch goods disappear from the market. And finally threaten producers with punishment for the shortages that your price controls have created. Multi-speciality hospitals across the country are reporting a fall in foreign patients due to shortage of premium stents. Patients are instead getting operated in Singapore, Bangkok. Thanks to this move, we are now losing valuable foreign currency too. Why is Indian Gov’t promoting reverse medical tourism? Undoubtedly we need to care more for our poor, but we can’t at the same time ignore the desires of millions of people who belong to upper and middle class and who are honest tax payers. Why should they be denied a choice? Today it’s cardiac stents, tomorrow it will be orthopaedic implants, and after that, maybe oncology drugs. There is no doubt that the government’s intentions are laudable and the efforts are an attempt to ensure equitable distribution of medical care and to curb medical malpractices. But the execution is misdirected and mal-aligned. Hospitals may hike cath lab rent per procedure and try to bridge the gap. Surgeons may prefer bypass surgical procedures. All these regulations appear as knee-jerk reactions done to control medical malpractice. I am not claiming here that everything was hunky-dory in the stent and implant business. But, putting a cap on prices is not the answer to the problem. While Modi led BJP came to power with the slogan of, “Minimum Government, Maximum Governance”. Their actions are nowhere near it. Instead the License Raj that we left off in the 1980s, is making a comeback.
Founder at Aam Janata
Vidyut has a keen interest in mass psychology and using it as a lens to understand contemporary politics, social inequality and other dynamics of power within the country. She is also into Linux and internet applications and servers and has sees technology as an important area India lacks security in.
Latest posts by Vidyut (see all)
- Open letter to the Chief Justice of India - April 13, 2019
- Nationwide Protest by NREGA workers #NREGASangharshMorcha - March 2, 2019
- Repression of Activists cannot stop the second Kisan Long March - February 16, 2019