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Posted by on Mar 22, 2010 in In The News, TG Roundup, USA

Healthcare Bill: What do Indian Americans Think?

Indian Americans play a significant role in American healthcare system. Indian physicians are among the best doctors in America. A number of chemists and bio-engineering researchers work for drug companies and healthcare industry. In the last decade or so we have a number of pharmacists join the healthcare ranks in this country. In addition, healthcare industry employs several thousands of IT workers.

I am sure all these people have something to say about the new healthcare bill that will be signed into law anytime now. Whether you are in the above group or not, please share with us what you think about the healthcare system in America (or wherever you live) and what you think of the new healthcare legislation.

2 Comments

  1. Mohan Garu,
    I have interest in this topic. Here is my .02. Its rather long. I hope folks understand that I am not bashing anyone, just looking to find the root cause issue. The bill will not cover medical expenses for the illegals. Individuals making more than 200K or families making 250K are taxed bit more. It gives an opportunity for the poor to buy insurance. I say go for it.

    I am not an expert on the subject in any capacity (doctor, lawyer, hospital owner, lobbyist, analyst, insurance…). But I have some experience in this topic from couple of incidents occurred involving me plus my work as an IT guy in the health care area (both in private and federal). First and foremost, no one person or entity is responsible for this mess. Its a collection of shady insurance companies, greedy doctors, miserly corporate hospitals and lazy patients that brought us here, i.e. the expensive health care.

    Lets start with insurance. Doctors and hospitals complain that insurance gets in the way resulting higher cost. Hence the government (including Obama) typically targets the insurance companies. Insurance folks are selling the insurance because the health care service is expensive for average American. If the cost of medical care is cheap like it was in India,folks do not need the insurance. They can pay everything out of packet. Yes, out of packet. The reason that it cost an arm and leg (yes an arm and leg) to replace a heart made these insurance companies important in the system. They saved many lives by providing health care at a low price but collecting money from a vast pool of insurance holders. They helped many sick patients. But just like any business they are in it for the Money. Once the profit margins fall beyond the break-even point, they will raise their premiums and what not.Which will have an impact on the hospital charges, salaries of private sector employees… the list goes on.

    Next up are the doctors. I have highest regard for them. But they are gettin greedy. Calling them greedy is a bit too far. I know I know , I have two in my family. But its the truth. Back in the old times we used to say “Vaidyo Narayano Hari”. But lately it has become “Vaidyo” then “Hari”. How many doctors want to serve the patients based on their Hippocratic oath not worry about making money ? There is always the element of getting to know the charges for “Procedure 1” Vs “Charges for Procedure 2”. Since Charges for procedure 2 are more , thus I want to be the doctor who does Procedure 2. Radiologist make more money than a cardiologist who make more money than a dermatologist… the comparison goes on. This whole thing will end up in charging a fortune for procedures (read surgeries). There are folks saying , no no no, you don’t understand the cost of training a doctor. The impeccable procedures, the medical licensing, the whole kit and caboodle. Sure, loooook, the whole thing is a business. And it is Marked up so high that the its a win – win for all, from medical colleges to the new medical grads. The new doctors spent lot of money on the college, so they have to earn a lot when they become doctors. I also know the medical mall practice thing too. Poor new doctors , they can’t afford the insurance, so they got to charge more so that they can serve us the patients. Its a loop. The losers are patients here. If cost of training a doctor becomes cheap, more and more folks will take up the profession.

    Next are the corporate hospitals, these are really the middle man between the doctor, insurance and the patient. They have to get their money being the middle man, Yes “Collect” their money as in the collection agency. I keep laughing at this term “Collections”. In our IT side of the hospital, there are “Collection Jobs” that run on the Unix box. :). Hospitals markup the charges using the service code.How they can charge linking the diagnoses to services based on the procedures performed is really the trick of the trade. Codification (ICDs) have made it easier to setup charges and collect money from patients. Add fixed costs, depreciation of the equipment… so on you have a thriving business with never ending patients. These folks always complain about insurance.

    Last are the patients. Diseases related to genes are the ones you have no control. So if you get these , well got to run to the hospital. But the diseases such as heart, diabetes, hyper tension… all can be prevented by following a healthy life style. But we do not care. Jihva is more important than Kayamu.If we as patients can prevent certain diseases, we can reduce the cost of the
    health care.

    There is one more point I excluded , which is the usage of information technology in health care. I leave it for now. I probably need 10 posts or write a paper on that :).

    In the end
    Everyone from poor to rich gets attacked by serious diseases. It pains to see poor patients die because they cannot afford the hospital “charge”. This health care plan is a step in right direction to help the poor(hopefully).

  2. Mohan Garu, will reply shortly.