The end of private healthcare system in Karnataka – By Ajay Kudva

The government of Karnataka is about to implement the KPME act to control the doctors in the state, in the upcoming assembly session. It’s all handiwork of the health minister Mr. Ramesh, who has a personal grudge against all doctors in the state.

Most common people are being misled into believing that this is a good bill for the people and will benefit them. Without an understanding of what exactly is happening, people are lauding the effort by the government. The doctors have already had several protests and are on the verge of an indefinite strike. The entire private medical system is on the verge of collapse.

I’m writing this just to give you a fair idea as to what’s happening.

Let’s start with a plate of idli sambar. A plate of idli sambar costs ?5 in a roadside shop, ?10 in Indira canteen, ?20 in a small Hotel, ? 50 in a big restaurant, ? 100 in an AC restaurant in Bangalore and maybe, say ? 300 plus taxes at any 5-star Hotel. Now if the government passes a resolution saying all these establishments have to sell a plate of idli sambar at ?5 irrespective of the type of establishment, failing which action will be taken against the establishments. Add to that, if the idli sambar doesn’t taste good, and the customer is not satisfied, the person selling the idli sambar will be sent to jail and a fine ranging from 30,000 to a few lakhs. What will the establishments do?? Do you think a 5-star hotel will be able to sell idli sambar at ?5?? They will eventually close down as they will not have the revenue to run the place.

This is what the bill aims to do to the private medical practitioners. The government wants to fix the prices of all services, which is next to impossible for the private establishments to survive.

A 10th grade fail plumber who comes home to change a leaking tap or a small job charges around ?300 as his charges, cost of spares etc and if the house is far off he will put his travel charges as well. And you expect someone who has worked hard all his way to graduation and then post graduation and other specialization and put in almost 15 years learning his skill to charge ?50 as consultation and surgeries at a pittance??

Sincere advise to the government is to first get the government hospital mess right, appoint all positions vacant for specialists and then see the change. They can’t change their own system but want to control the professionals who are doing a good job, without any aid from the government and also paying all kinds of charges levied by the Govt like the pollution board charges, medical waste disposal, registration of clinics every now and then by paying the fees, the rent, overheads etc.

People, please understand doctors are not monsters. We are giving top-notch healthcare in the whole world at 1/10th of the price anywhere in the developed world. The health system in our country is run by private practitioners amounting to almost 70%. So if this draconian law is going to be implemented, I can assure most doctors will be forced to change profession!! The health care system will collapse!!

Article by Dr. Ajay Kudva

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