Sunday Reading invites all readers to speak out on vital issues that touch their lives. Our next topic is – “Ways to help youngsters understand their heritage.” E-mail your response, not exceeding 100 words, along with your name, address and a passport-size coloured photograph – latest by March 16, 2021, to [email protected]

Today’s topic

What can we do about the rising cost of health-care?

Healthcare costs are rising everywhere over the world. In India, too, medical care, especially in the corporate sector, has become expensive to the point of becoming inaccessible to the poor, and even to the middle class. One solution is to bring in regulations to curb excessive pricing and rationalise costs across the spectrum of diagnostic and therapeutic services. This has been tried by governments at both the central and state levels with variable degrees of success. But if done too aggressively, this may very well stifle growth and entrepreneurship in the sector.

Just as in any other business, healthcare corporates do have to focus on profit and it is pointless to assume that charity will be a motivator to keep go­ing. A better solution might be to push for universal health insurance and make as much of healthcare in India as cashless as possible. Only by delinking money from medical treatment in the thought pro­cesses of patients and doctors alike can we truly focus on what is most important – good healthcare.

Dr. Siddhartha Goswami, MD, IDCCM Consultant,Critical Care, Apollo Hospitals, Guwahati.

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The rising cost of healthcare may be compensated by health insur­ance. Though prevention is best, at times people need to seek medical assistance. Procuring an insurance policy early saves cost. And the premium should be paid timely – to ensure that the policy does not lapse. The entire family can be covered by a single insurance policy also. One should read the benefits and coverage provided by the policy before opting for it. People are bound to fall sick and it’s wiser to be prepared.

Dr. P. Chakravarty, Tezpur.

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India’s healthcare system is not at par with those of many countries of the world. The rising cost of healthcare has made things worse. The existing medical infrastructure in the country is insufficient for its 1.4 billion people. The government has failed to provide universal healthcare. At times, people have to spend their entire savings on treatment. Medical insurance, government schemes and affordable assistance aren’t effectively implemented. Like the USA, our govern­ment must set aside funds for social security. The poor especially face hindrances while availing free health facilities. The use of generic drugs may also reduce costs for the needy. Charitable hospitals can be another way of making healthcare affordable. Proven traditional treatment methods can also be encouraged.

Kamal Baruah, Lakhimi Nagar, Dispur, Guwahati.

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In the past few months, we have seen that there has been a huge rise in the cost of medical treatment due to the global pandemic. So, my suggestion to the government is to come up with medical schemes that will be beneficial for everyone. Also, there should be free health check-ups in government hospitals, with private hospitals also asked to offer such facilities. Moreover, private hospitals should cap their charges. Lastly, we should keep away from all harmful substances and follow medical guidelines properly.

Jyotishman Bhagawati, Barpeta Road, Assam.

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A simple way to save money on healthcare is to stay healthy. To remain healthy, a person has to have a balanced diet, refrain from drinking alcohol, smoking, etc., and engage in physical activities or exercise. For people with underlying conditions like diabetes or heart diseases, maintaining a healthy routine helps one avoid costly tests and treatments. Sleep is an important pillar of wellbe­ing. It has been proved that eight hours of sleep a night can help keep many diseases at bay. Lastly, to protect one’s finances against sudden high medical bills, one should invest in a good health insurance plan.

Maheswar Deka, Rangia.