A story of first class, cheap, and efficient medical care in India

A few years ago I read an article on the socialist-progressive site Salon.com that amazed me. It will amaze you too. Guaranteed. Now that the SCOTUS has declared logic invalid and Obama care constitutional I thought I might share this story with the handful of folks who stumble upon this backwater blog. This is the story of first class, cheap, efficient medical care in India.

Our misguided friends on the left demanded a draconian, collectivist vision for the delivery of health care in this country and they got it. While the socialists in the Democratic Party celebrated their victory in our accelerating decent into the “wonders” of the USSR economy, I looked up the story of the NYC newspaper worker who went to India to work in 2009 and had to interact with the medical system there. He was able to compare India with the USA for us.

The story was called How I got well in India for $50 and it is an amazing tale of medical care that works. Click on that link and read it all!

The author, Aruna Viswanatha, writes about a personal experience with American health care verses that in India. It is well worth reading with an open mind and then asking if one can see any lessons that can be extrapolated into a larger idea of what is wrong now in this country.

… It was about 9:30 in the morning. My friend, who works for an outsourcing firm, called a gastroenterologist — not a general practitioner but a specialist — and set up an appointment for 10 a.m. We drove to the hospital, a mile away. It looked brand-new; the floors were shiny and everything glistened. The staff was courteous and the whole place was quiet. The doctor called me in at 10:02. He diagnosed the problem as a bacterial one, gave me a list of what to eat and prescribed a course of antibiotics. The pharmacy counter where I could pick up the drugs was just outside his office. The cost to see the doctor? $6. The pharmacy bill was about $1. Total cost, $7, with no insurance company involvement whatsoever.

Before I left New York, I had spent $20 just on a copay to visit a doctor and get a blood test done, another $20 copay to pick up the test results, and a third $20 installment for a tetanus shot. That was $60, plus whatever my insurance company paid, just so I could get a clean bill of health. …

An amazing tale is told in just those two paragraphs early in the story. The cost was so low that even the working poor in this country could pay those costs if that deal were available here in the USA. But it is not. Ask yourself why it is not. But you know already don’t you?

Another part of the article related:

Even emergency care in India seems to work along the same lines. The same friend who first called a doctor for me had been in a horrific car accident about eight months before I arrived. He was taking a right turn at 2 in the morning when a truck came from the opposite side, ran into his car and just kept going. His femur was broken like a twig, as were his collarbone and wrist. His lip was split and his nose was hanging off his face.

Two months and a few surgeries later, he walked out of the hospital. He walks now without any aid and has had no major complications. The total bill, paid by his Indian insurance company, was less than $10,000. A similar accident in the U.S. would run up a $200,000 bill and bankrupt almost anyone who didn’t have health insurance.

How is this accomplished? Largely through supply and demand. Almost 25,000 doctors graduate from India’s medical schools every year. Because there is so much competition, doctors and hospitals are forced to keep their prices low to get patients. Residents, who go to medical school straight from high school, only make the equivalent of a few hundred dollars a month. An average surgeon’s salary would be around $8,000 per month. The take-home pay to fix a hip fracture, for example, might run between $100 to $300, out of the $1,000 fee to the patient, says orthopedic surgeon M.S. Phaneesha. At his hospital in Bangalore, he says, there are 20 orthopedic surgeons alone on staff. For 1,600 beds, the hospitals employs around 700 doctors full-time; 300 of them are surgeons. In the U.S., by comparison, a first-year resident might take home around $2,500 each month, and the average surgeon more than $20,000 per month. A hip fracture would cost a patient around $30,000, of which the surgeon’s charge is $5,000. Even general practitioners in America earn on average more than $100,000 a year.

As America argues year after year how to pay for this horrific nightmare of a medical system in the US, a person should ask “why does it cost so darn much?” Ah, my friends, that is the question the rulers don’t want you asking. If you ponder on that question you might see that governmental intervention is making medical care cost at least 15 times what it should cost and probably much more. Imagine if there was no government rules and regulations at all to stand between medical provider and patient. Just imagine.


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