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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 2056-2057  

Healthcare is too an important issue to be left to corporates alone

1 Department of Medicine, KG's Medical University, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India
2 Department of Medicine, Consultant (Medical Gastroenterology Unit) KG's Medical University, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India
3 Department of CFAR (Cytogenetics Unit), KG's Medical University, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India

Date of Submission30-Oct-2020
Date of Decision02-Dec-2020
Date of Acceptance02-Dec-2020
Date of Web Publication31-May-2021

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Harish Gupta
Department of Medicine, KG's Medical University, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh - 226 003
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_2394_20

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How to cite this article:
Gupta H, Kumar A, Nigam N, Gautam M. Healthcare is too an important issue to be left to corporates alone. J Family Med Prim Care 2021;10:2056-7

How to cite this URL:
Gupta H, Kumar A, Nigam N, Gautam M. Healthcare is too an important issue to be left to corporates alone. J Family Med Prim Care [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Jul 25];10:2056-7. Available from: https://www.jfmpc.com/text.asp?2021/10/5/2056/317304

Dear Editor,

Soham D Bhaduri discusses post-COVID reform in India in November issue of Journal & speculates what to expect.[1] In his editorial under a title, “Wrong trajectory for Indian healthcare”, he narrates our experiences with various insurance schemes – many of which are touted as success stories.

However, what we observe at out tertiary care hospital is something intriguing. Day in & day out poor patients keep on visiting our hospital, many of whom are sick – sometimes seriously – and want our care. When they don't have paying capacity, we have provision for free consumables but to avail the facility, they have to produce some proof. It comes to our surprise that those who really are poor, many a times are bereft of the proof & those who appear to be economically well, have their documents ready. Our hospital devised a strategy to combat this situation too. When they do not have any valid proof of poverty, we then and there certify them as poor by filling Vipann (destitute) form & make them eligible to get State funds.

By citing this example, we want to challenge the state of affairs in our times. Any hospital, rather any single public institution, can offer only this much help to those lacking resources. But when the rot is systemic, eligible poor are denied their rights established by lawmakers, we can only make this much mark.[2] Therefore, when planning & analyzing public schemes, we need to remember that it will operate through existing infrastructure, that many a times denies those deserving ones their genuine dues. Abhijit V Banerjee – last year's Indian- American Nobel Laureate in economic sciences – wrote an essay about complexities of identifying poor under a title, “Why fighting poverty is hard”.[3] In the essay under a heading, “The implementation challenge”, he elaborates on same issue.

At the end, the author writes under a title, 'The way forward” about disparities in healthcare access. He wants these services to be accessible to more. However, the route we are choosing for the same is anything but that. Until this year fee of students enrolled for medical/dental courses used to be capped by a committee. Now under the cover of National Medical Commission, the cap has been removed & colleges are allowed to determine their own fee.[4],[5] Therefore several students who clear NEET & get a higher rank in merit, are unable to pay this fee, hence resultantly opt out but those with wherewithal (read paying capacity) are able to afford the offer.

Poser of our times is that when students pay millions per year to get a seat, how will they get interested to serve a common man later on! Will they first want to recoup their investment or choose the moral path of serving the needy after navigating the market forces, we wonder. We fear that when private interests of corporates are given precedence over public ones, moral compass fails to give us direction; we will soon find ourselves at high seas among pirates.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Bhaduri SD. Post-COVID healthcare reform in India: What to expect? J Family Med Prim Care 2020;9:5427-31.  Back to cited text no. 1
  [Full text]  
Bajpai V, Singh N, Sardana H, Kumari S, Vettiyil B, Saraya A. Errors of inclusion and exclusion in income-based provisioning of public healthcare: Problems associated with below poverty line cards. Natl Med J India 2017;30:348-51.  Back to cited text no. 2
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
Banerjee AV. Why fighting poverty is hard. MIT. Sep 2008. Available from: https://economics.mit.edu/files/6605.  Back to cited text no. 3
Nagarajan R. New bill could be jackpot for private medical colleges. Times of India. Jul 24, 2019. Available from: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/education/new-bill-could-be-jackpot-for-private-medical-colleges/articleshow/70354437.cms.  Back to cited text no. 4
Bajpai V. National Medical Commission Act, A cure worse than malady. Econ Polit Wkly 2020, Feb 29;55(9). Available from: https://www.epw.in/journal/2020/9/commentary/national-medical-commission-act.html.  Back to cited text no. 5


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