We have been hearing for last decade or so how our healthcare system is broken.  The debates start during the election and then it subsidizes.  Last major attempt to make healthcare better was done in early 90s by Hillary Clinton.  However, the lobby is so strong and shortsighted, it made sure it fails.

This election again we had the debate.  The new president is committed to transforming the healthcare.  And the spinmasters have already started to redefine the meaning of various words.  The meaning of access for some is ability to go to emergency room, and for others is being able to see a doctor even if puts your house on foreclosure.

It begs then to step back and ask the question, what is healthcare and how do you define an ideal healthcare system?

Heath care at its core is widely recognized as a public goods and service. Its supply and demand cannot, therefore, be left to be regulated solely by the invisible hands of  free market; neither can it be established on the considerations of utility maximizing conducts alone.  Health care is not only about medical care but it also includes all aspects preventive care.  Healthcare can not be limited to care rendered by or financed out of public expenditure within the government sector.  It must also include incentives and disincentives for self care and care paid for by private citizens to cure ill health.  

What makes for a just health care system even as an ideal?

  • Universal access to an adequate level without excessive burden.
  • Fair distribution of financial costs for acces, rationing of care and capacity,  and a constant search for improvement to a more just system.
  • Training providers for competence in empathy and accountability, in pursuit of quality care, and cost effective use of the results of relevant research.
  • Special attention to vulnerable groups such a children, women, disabled and the elderly.

 

Author: Dr. R.K. “ravi” Pandey, BIPRO Inc.

Source:  The article is based on “Healthcare in India – Vision 2020: Issues and Prospects” by R. Srinivasan