Kerim has a post about public spending on healthcare in the US, Europe and India. The Hindu has an article on medical tourism in India. It points out the rapid growth of private high end medical care, but is it at the cost of public care? The medical tourism council thinks that it will create “competition” and the good “old trickle down” effect. I don’t see how that is possible unless resources are allocated to public hospitals. A National Human Development Report (2001) points out that private hospitals have a not for profit status, yet:

…the poorest quintile (of the population is) getting only 10 per cent of subsidies, while the richest 20 quintile captures 33 per cent.

I don’t see why a profitable industry would want to give any of that up, even if the public is getting testy:

— in the second half of 2004 there were at least seven reported incidents in Mumbai of patient’s families assaulting hospital staff, both in State and municipal corporation-run hospitals, and private clinics, because of the perception that they were victims of medical negligence.

Who can argue against excellence, yet does it have to be either or? Poorer countries like Bangladesh and Sri Lanka (see previous post) manage to do a better job with basic health care, it might be a better idea to see what they are doing right than imitating an abysmal system like that of the US (refer toKerim’s post).