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Posts Tagged ‘obama’

Why Don’t Indians Lean Republican?

Posted by kostub on November 3, 2010

If I were to take a poll of the political inclination of the fellow Indian Americans that I know, they would heavily lean towards the Democrats. While I have never actually conducted such a poll , the slant seems quite apparent to me. Politically the Indian American community overwhelmingly votes Democrat. This result is actually quite surprising when you look at it in the light of the India-US relationship. The following contradictions start to emerge. The Bush-era has been the high-point of the India-US relationship. Secondly, two trends important to Indians – the growth of a vibrant Indian tech community in the US and the economic boom that India enjoyed in the last 10 years have been a direct result of Republican policy. So if the Republican party benefits India more, then why do Indians sit so squarely in the Democratic camp?

Before we explore possible answers to this question, let us first understand the assertion I made about the Republican party being more beneficial for India. India has dramatically changed in the last 25 years. Long gone are the days when you had to wait in line for multiple years just to get a landline or when a refrigerator was considered a luxury item. Today your street peddler, fish monger and your maid servant all carry cell phones. India has enjoyed a huge economic boom in the last decade. The seeds of economic prosperity were planted by the Rajiv Gandhi government in the late 80s. These economic liberalization policies were cemented in place in 1991 by the then Finance Minister Manmohan Singh, who did away with the License Raj, deregulated businesses and allowed foreign investment and encouraged private enterprise. In short, India moved from being a socialist economy to a capitalist one. Since then subsequent governments have continued on the path set by these reforms despite opposition from the Left. This has transformed the Indian economy from being virtually stagnant to the second fastest growing major economy in the world, next only to China.

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Posted in india | Tagged: , , , | 8 Comments »

In Search of a Better Health Care System

Posted by kostub on September 15, 2009

The assumption that spending more of the taxpayer’s money will make things better
has survived all kinds of evidence that it has made things worse.
– Thomas Sowell

Rapid increases in the costs of health care in the US has placed an undue burden on small businesses, the self-employed and the uninsured, and the system is need of an extensive overhaul. The White House health care page has an excellent description on the goals of such a comprehensive reform. While the goals themselves are noble, and no person should be denied health care or have to go broke just because they became sick or had an accident, the lawmakers seem to have forgotten the true goal of the reform viz. make health care affordable for all.

The administration’s proposal for cost reduction involves setting up a massive public insurance plan which will be able to negotiate lower payments to doctors and hospitals. But, past experience has shown us that government involvement and socialization does not result in lower costs. Medicare, one of the government’s largest social programs is already running into budgetary difficulties despite the fact that it negotiates far lower rates with medical providers than private insurance. Moreover, similar reform has already been enacted in Massachusetts, and yet we still see rising medical costs there.

Why are these costs rising? In a previous post, I had argued that the reason costs in India were under control was due the presence of free market competition amongst medical providers. By contrast, in the US, neither the provider nor the patient has any incentive to decrease the cost, as all of it is borne by someone else i.e. health insurance. In fact, both have an incentive to increase the cost by ordering unnecessary or more expensive tests – the provider gets paid more while the patient believes that they are getting better treatment. Obama’s plan does little to change this fact. All it does is transfer the cost from employers who pay the premiums (which is indirectly transferred to the employees in terms of lower salaries) to the tax payers. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in healthcare | Tagged: , , , | 7 Comments »

Obamacare vs Indiacare

Posted by kostub on August 28, 2009

In the last few weeks the healthcare debate has raged all over the US.  Everyday you see new articles in the media describing various conflicting positions held by different people. Now, I don’t claim to be an expert in healthcare reform, and nor have I analyzed the various positions throughly to make any sort of accurate judgement on the proposals. Instead, this article is more what the US could learn from the the healthcare system in India. In fact, it only focuses on one particular aspect of the system – the affordability of healthcare.

The Indian healthcare system is nothing to write home about, in fact it is dismal at best. The amount of government spending on healthcare is minimal, the health of the people is poorer and millions of people do not have access to decent healthcare. This is definitely not a model we want to emulate. But, there is one factor in its favor – viz. low cost. India has good medical facilities, well trained doctors and the  all the same medical treatments that are available in the US. Yet, all of this is available at a fraction of the cost of similar treatments in the US. This has resulted in a huge boom in the medical tourism industry. Before we speculate on the reasons as to why healthcare is more affordable in India, let us look at an example that illustrates the difference in cost: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in healthcare | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »