Our own insurance companies haven’t risen up to current demands! It is a question of leadership at the top.
The government has announced in April a national rural health ` mission. Fine. But then the status of healthcare, the allocations in the budget, the share in the GDP are scandalously low. Now, what are the priorities. The poor cant afford healthcare. There is no health insurance industry. As there is no credible insurance cover for farmers, their farming etc. We read just now that the Karnataka government had reviewed its famous, highly promising innovative rural health insurance cover.
Thanks to the government’s bold innovative scheme there are now enquiries from other states which also want of introduce the scheme.
The Central government must step in. It must introduce the low-cost health insurance scheme for all India, to reach the villages and the poorer sections. The real tragedy is that while there is a vigorous growth in high quality, private ,corporate speciality hospitals in India, the poor cant afford the high costs. Unfortunately ,all our existing medicare policies by the insurance companies are not reaching out to the poor. When it comes to healthcare insurance, Indian insurance companies are as guilty as the private sector American healthcare insurance!
The costs of administration are quite high. In India as per Section 40C of the Insurance Act management expenditures of these companies cant exceed 19.5 per cent of the gross premium collections. Already these companies operate much higher expenditures, above the legally mandated limit! The four companies operate between 23 and 25 per cent! Our politicians being themselves corrupt and selfish ends seekers don’t care for the greater issues of great social justice ends like healthcare for the poor! All we read is about the insurance employees demanding wage revisions! Why not privatise or partially privatise the insurance companies and also bring in public-private partnerships in healthcare insurances. The existing some schemes don’t seem to have taken off as expected. The subject needs critical examination and the minister concerned must act and do something drastic! As many as there are some 20 points for critical examination, as per our investigation. Health for all is a good slogan. One more additional slogan should be : healthcare insurance for all!
It is not that we Indians are not pro–active. We don’t have good role models. Let us follow and guidance from men like Dr.Devi Shetty and make our dream of providing good healthcare for everybody as reality. So Karnataka government is considering the accreditation of private doctors to work for certain limited hours in PHCs so that the patients get the best services.
The insurance companies ,even after the entry of foreign private insurance companies seem to be not doing any big job! As per the latest news at our disposal, it seems the penetration of private insurance companies into the unserved, rural areas is very poor. It seems practically left out of the schemes of the insurance companies.
In one word, the health insurance schemes are badly administered and what the schemes are administered don’t meet the demands.
He also makes the shocking observation: “We have lower life-expectancy and higher infant mortality rates than countries that spend less than half as much per person. How do we do it?”
He himself answers. According to the WHO estimates, the US administrative expenses eat up about 15 per cent of the money paid in premiums to private health insurance companies. But only 4 per cent of the budget of the public insurance programmes are known as Medicare and medicaid. Because America relies more than other countries on private insurance companies the administrative costs are higher. WHO says that private insurers don’t compete with public insurance. The private insurers compete on risk selection, turning away those with high medical bills in one way. Delaying payments. So, there is a vast, expensive insurance bureaucracy in the USA. Doesn’t this sound like what we in Indian already have in the public sector insurance companies?
Also there are other discouraging methods. The insurance costs are taxes on employment and companies pass it on to consumers who ultimately purchase the company products. General Motors is losing money on every car they sell because of high insurance costs of its labour. Paul Krughman is a Nobel Prize winning economist. Only in America you have economists like him and other Nobel winners can talk openly about their governments. Here our economists are fearful or always on the look our for government assignments. So, a respectful attitude even for what the government don’t do! Even when foolish things the governments to do in the name of privatisation or on the principles of free market.
So laying of labour in big companies like GM is caused by high insurance costs! Says the noted economist, Krugman: “Americans without insurance eventually receive medicare. But only eventually. Not when they want. The uninsured are about three times as likely as the insured to postpone seeking care, fail to get needed care, leave prescription unfilled and skip treatment or die, because of these delays! Two to three million Americans are employed by insurers and healthcare providers, not to deliver healthcare but to pass on the buck to some one else!