healing edicts

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Yesterday, the Delhi High Court pronounced a jugement directing 70 up-market state-of-the-art private hospitals to provide free treatment to the poor by reserving 25% of their resources to people below the poverty line.. the court also directed these hospitals to place large hoardings in english and hindi about the same..

Imagine if this were to be true, what a relief it would be to the scores of poor people who have few options: either trudge miles away to public hospitals or surrender to the local quack!

This jugement is akin to the one passed some time back on reserving 25% of seats in up market schools for poor children .. what happened there was that divisive lines got deeper and instead of the so called poor kids sitting next to their rich peers, all kind of excuses were found and alternatives worked out which in some cases resulted to a parrallel system for the poor kid, after the rich had returned home for the day..

So it stands to reason to think that something similar will happen in hospitals. First of all the poor illiterate BPL person is unlikely to be able to read the hoardings and understand them.. then will he ever be able to muster the courage to enter the hospital and ask for his right... making it passed the uniformed chowkidar would already be a miracle... and then if he does make it that far, who will decide where free treatment stops: a simple cursory check up by an intern or the much needed treatment which could be as expensive as complex surgery... you can conjure many scenarios but the common denominator remains the same..

What wil happen though is that many phone cals will be made between politicians and hospital administration and te 25% allocation will be easily met making everyone happy: the politician would have pleased one of his voters and the hopsital administration would have pleased the powers that be.. kept waiting at the gate would be someone like nanhe or munna's mother who after some time would quietly turn back and take the bus to Safdarjung Hospital...

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