The recent article in the news papers of President Obama saying, he doesn’t want his citizens going to India & Mexico for cheaper medical treatments has been on my mind for a while. There a so many levels to this article from both US and Indian side. At first look it seems very offensive for an Indian. I instantly remembered how confusing the medical insurance logic used to be in the US. You always have to have insurance if you want medical help. Or the medical bills are enormous to get you bankrupt. Pretty much you can’t go to a doctor without any insurance. I remember my American friend once saying that he can’t take chances to fall sick, because he is low on his insurance & there were another few months to go for the year-up. I thought, how can we decide not to fall sick?
Next the task of getting an appointment with a doctor in the US is quite challenging. Doctors can be available sometimes only after months. If you want to see the doc immediately, the receptionist needs to be convinced that it’s an emergency. Again those have various rules & protocols! May be even calling a 911! Too disciplined and systematic! At such times we remember our Indian medical services from our childhood, where we would just stop by at any of the familiar clinics in the neighborhood for problems of cough, cold, fever, aches, EVERYTHING etc. If the doctor in the clinic refers to any other specialists or other hospitals, getting those helps are not that tedious either. Bottom line, we can get medical help any time we want. But quality is what matters! In India if you have the money, you can avail the best of medical treatments, no doubt about that. Our doctors are very efficient in their medical skills. Govt. Hospitals are cheap but lack in quality of medical help and other services. But Private hospitals provide all that is needed. We have the latest technologies and many successful ‘first time’ operations have been performed in India.
Moreover, India has the traditional old medical methods of Ayurveda and Homeopathy in comparison to only Allopathy outside India. We know how they are all herbal, natural, no side effects and have life-long relief from various ailments. There are various reasons why foreigners come to India for medical help, apart from being cheap. Though the President’s comment sounds offensive, the US needs to come up with a simpler method of medical care that is easy to understand and use. In the US, I used to be very careful not to fall sick due to the insurance logic. Now in India, I can fall sick without worries. As long as there are doctors and I have money in my pockets, I am good J
I think it’s an opportunity to make best out of the president’s comment; improve our medical services even more than now and at affordable prices keeping in mind the Indian pockets than the foreign ones! The statement itself proved that people come to India for the remedy, not just for cheap services. Foreign patients won’t come for cheap death, right?