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Tilak Rishi, born in India, has been working as a career corporate executive, after doing his MBA. Passionately pursuing his hobby for writing, he also remained a regular contributor to newspapers in India and the U.S. Many true happenings and characters he came across in life, including interaction with former president Bill Clinton, inspired Paradise Lost and Found, his first novel. A family saga, it starts from Kashmir, when this paradise on earth is lost for the tourists who thronged in thousands every year to enjoy its scenic splendor. Terrorists have turned it into one of the most dangerous places in the world. The family is not only a witness to the loss of this paradise, but also to another tragedy of much bigger magnitude. In the aftermath of the partition of India, along with millions uprooted from their homes in Pakistan, the family leaves behind all that it has in Lahore. Starting from a scratch on the difficult path to progress, it still has many joyful moments when along the way it makes a difference in many a life. The survival-to-success story climaxes in California where the family finds the paradise that was lost in Kashmir.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

America's Health Care

America is now engaged in a great debate about the future of health care. And over the past few weeks, much of the media attention has been focused on the loudest voices of the few opponents of the reforms, leaving unheard and unseen the hundreds who supported it at the Town Hall style meetings of President Obama, Senators and House Representatives. An increasingly intense battle over health care legislation in Congress will now shift to states across the country as lawmakers begin returning home for a month-long recess and again the media's cameras and reporters are most likely to remain conspicuous by their absence in covering the voices of the millions upon millions of Americans who quietly struggle every day with a system that often works better for the health-insurance companies than it does for them. In the meanwhile, insurance lobby prepares to flood the airwaves with millions of dollars to spread myths in their effort to block the reforms. It will be a pity if the opponents of the reforms, supported by money-starved media, succeed in their anti-people action to block the much needed historic health-insurance reform bill when it comes up for vote in the House after the recess.

Some 47 million U.S. Residents have no health insurance, and the numbers keep growing. Working families are experiencing double-digit increases in the costs of health insurance, more out-of-pocket costs for doctor visits and skyrocketing prices for prescriptions, forcing many to delay getting needed medical care or worse—to decline coverage for themselves or their families because of cost. Health care costs are rising at five times the rate of inflation. America’ most successful public health insurance program, Medicare, is increasingly under attack at a time when the lack of access to health care is already a crisis. Most Americans ages 65 and older rely on Medicare, which serves more than 40 million beneficiaries in the United States. Instead of strengthening and modernizing Medicare to include a comprehensive, affordable prescription drug benefit for all seniors, the Bush administration in late 2003 strong-armed through Congress a Medicare prescription drug bill that moves Medicare toward privatization. Americans pay more for health care each year but get less coverage and fewer services for the premiums they pay. Many Americans are struggling to make ends meet as the cost of care goes up while others face losing insurance as businesses struggle to cover employees.

In contrast to the health care system in the United States, considered the wealthiest country in the world, most developed countries already have a national health scheme with the norm to ensure health coverage for all their nationals. Even the under developed countries who can ill afford big budgets for free universal health care for all, have the first priority to provide it to their people. India sets an example in free health care for the developing countries worldwide to follow. Primary health centers are the cornerstone of the rural health care system. These facilities are part of a tiered health care system that funnels more difficult cases into urban hospitals while attempting to provide routine medical care to the vast majority in the countryside. Primary health centers and subcenters rely on trained paramedics to meet most of their needs. Side by side of the government run healthcare programs, there are hospitals run by private sector and charitable institutions, with a tiered pricing structure that charges wealthier patients more (for example, for fancy meals or air-conditioned rooms), letting the facilities provide free care for the poorest.

India has originated as one of the most important hubs for medical tourism. A nice blend of top-class medical expertise at attractive prices is helping more and more Indian corporate hospitals to lure foreign patients, including patients from developed nations such as the UK and the US, for high end surgeries like Cardiac ByPass Surgery or a Knee/Hip Replacement. Not just cost savings or the high standard of medical care facility, but also the waiting time is much lower for any treatment in India than in any other country. While you might have to wait for several months to get a surgical operation done in the US, in India things can be arranged within a week. As Washington searches for ways to tame the country's escalating health care costs, more insurers are offering networks of surgeons and dentists in India, where costs can be as much as 80% less than in America. Until recently, most Americans traveling abroad for cheaper non-emergency medical care were either uninsured or wealthy. But the profile of medical tourists is changing. Now, they are more likely to be people covered by private insurers, which are looking to keep costs from spiraling out of control. More and more people in USA are coming to know that there could be a hospital in India that can be as good as any hospital anywhere in the world or in the United States.

President Obama debunks the myths around health reform. He focuses his address on the stark moral and historical turning point at which the nation finds itself. The President’s 2010 Budget lays the groundwork for reform of the American health care system, most notably by setting aside a deficit-neutral reserve fund of $635 billion over 10 years to help finance reform of the health care system to bring down costs, expand coverage, and improve quality. Health insurance is fundamentally about peace of mind. If you have good insurance, you don’t have to worry about an accident or sudden illness. You know that whatever happens, you and your family will be taken care of. It is a historic opportunity being provided by President Obama to the people of America to have affordable access to health care, don't make it to slip away for the monetary gains of the health-insurance groups or for the politicians who care more for them than the people.


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