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The Health Care Blog: Dispatch from India: Private sector responding to new health care consumers

Posted Nov 18 2008 12:13am

The Health Care Blog: Dispatch from India: Private sector responding to new health care consumers: "India can learn from, and sidestep, the structural handicaps holding back health care reforms in the United States.

Such a market economy of choice, quality, and price obviously will work only with a limited population set -- those of the educated middle class. While this might seem like pampering an already well-off segment, the idea is to let market forces work for one segment that does not greatly need government support and thereby relieve it of responsibilities -- and release funds in the process -- to focus on the vulnerable poor.

It is important to note why India might entertain such an idea in the first place: funding for nationwide health out of general revenues have been miserably inept and its efforts largely bypassed by every segment of society. Social insurance of a sort barely exists outside of a small privileged few falling within the purview of the Employees State Insurance Scheme (ESIS); and private insurance, left unchecked, might just begin to replicate the problems one experiences in the US. In the meantime, the out-of-pocket regime flourishes with serious repercussions to the patients and their families. In this scenario, only the provider and manufacturer segments gain. A supermarket of quality providers rated by neutral third parties that enables consumer choice in service packages and price would appear to be just what the doctor ordered."

The Indian healthcare industry is a huge opportunity and hopefully we will learn from the mistakes the US did, and do a better job !

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