If health is priceless why should healthcare be free?

Yesterday I was struck by a bug that left me shivering in bed and running to the loo. For a while I was so sick that I couldn’t stop thinking the worst and was wondering how to tackle it when this morning’s headlines on p.5 of this morning’s MumbaiMirror, screamed ” Patients cough up more as docs hike consultation charges by 35%” . The hospital featured was Bombay Hospital one of Mumbai‘s leading hospitals. It seems that a doctor’s consultation fee was hiked from Rs. 1000 to Rs 1500. I was shocked to read this not because of the fee hike but because the patients who patronise this hospital find it far too expensive! And these are the very same patients who don’t mind spending on other things far more frivolous and far more expensive.

Consider this :

  • A leather hand bag crafted by Ferragamo retails at Rs. 82,000/-  + and still has takers.
  • A hair cut can cost upto Rs 1800 and you still need a prior appointment
  • A sari draper charges all of Rs 2500 and is still is very busy
  • A wedding make-up artist charges all of Rs.25,000 and above and you’re lucky if he/she fits you in
These are also the very same people who
  • Spend Rs.1000 for an hour of home Yoga tuition
  • Fly half way round the world for a friend’s bachelor party
  • Drive all the way to Borivili National Park for a glass of fruit juice
  • Get the entire floor re-laid because the tiles were not exactly what they wanted
Studying medicine is not cheap. It may not run into lakhs as does an Ivy League education but it is still expensive.
  • Since most colleges don’t teach much, pre-med students have to spend a lot of time and money going to classes to get past the entrance tests
  • Some colleges have capitation fees 
  • Some medical students have to attend private tuitions if the teaching is not up to standard
  • A post graduate degree is a must – seats are hard to get and sometimes expensive
  • Post graduate students often work long hours at fellowships which pay them nothing or next to nothing
A medical education is time consuming
  • Students have to put in the regular hours in class as well as study after class
  • Students who don’t clear exams at the first shot spend several years/ attempts clearing exams
  • Many students cannot afford to get married till they are in their 30’s
  • Medical students cannot refuse to check a patient
  • Medical students are denied the use of gloves and masks while examining patients
  • Medical students live in hostel accommodation that is uninhabitable at most times
Even after graduating, a medical doctor has to attend regular conferences, publish papers and undergo what is known as Continuing Medical Education to keep abreast of new procedures. Does any other profession have this re-validation process? 
Some medical students earn less than corporate drivers or privately employed cooks. 
Doctors are supposed to examine patients even in the middle of the night.
Doctors are supposed to climb up stairs to examine a patient even if they are medically unfit.
Doctors are expected to be on call even when they are on holiday or away from their work environment.
And our health is supposed to be priceless.
So why grumble when the doctor increases his fee? 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Author: Unishta

A granny who always sees the humour in life and tries to do things differently. When others make cupcakes, this granny makes banana fritters. When she’s not busy chasing her grandchildren who love making her run around, she indulges in her passions of reading, writing, meeting friends and watching movies. And somewhere between all this she enjoys travelling and cooking!


  1. Wonderful comments..Appreciated it as i am a doctor myself who just completed post graduation studies and believe me its hell of a job! Even though the profession chosen is willingly and for the betterment of our people, i really liked ur blog.
    Would be sharing it on facebook if you dont mind with your name on it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge