Indian Healthcare Influence

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Influence of the American healthcare system on Indian health services
USA is the world’s largest economy. Its dominance in the sphere of arts, science, technology, culture and medicine is unparalleled today. Given its dominant socio-political and economic status, no country on earth can be said to be beyond the sphere of American influence in almost all aspects of life. While the pervasiveness of such American hegemony is a matter of debate today in many sociological discourses today, for the purpose of this paper, we will concentrate on influence of American healthcare on the healthcare system of India.
The American way of life is typified by the example of “rugged individualism,” where each individual works to secure their own interest.
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The US influence on the Indian health care system has been immense ever since the 1980s and particularly after the 1990s, in which the structural adjustment programmes (SAP) played an important role. SAP, implemented in India in the early 1990s, introduced a new era of economic liberalisation into the economy. Healthcare structure was not left untouched by the new reform economy. Though the implementation of these SAP in India were at the behest of the World Bank (WB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF), yet the neoliberalist agenda underlining these reforms was unmistakable. The nature of these reforms also made it clear that Indian health service sector was moving towards an era of privatisation and de-regulation, the very hallmarks of the US health service system. Thus a look at the evolution of the healthcare system in the India since the 1980s and 1990s shows a definite US imprint.
Baru (1998: 37-38) states that the extent of US influence on Indian health services may be understood at the following levels – the role of the multinational companies in pharmaceuticals and medical equipment industries, the influence of the NRI doctors some of whom began returning to
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They have contributed to a decrease in public expenditure on social sectors, including health services. This has brought in an era of stagnation of the growth of public health service system infrastructure in the country. The result has been that the private sector has had to fill in this void left by the government. Government too has accorded recognition to the private sector to plug the gap in services and has even extended its support to them. In 2008, it launched the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) or the National Health Insurance Scheme, which provided government-funded health insurance to the country’s vast below-poverty-line (BPL) population. Both private and public hospitals were empanelled under the scheme. In effect, the scheme represents a subsidisation of the private sector through public money. However lack of proper monitoring and governmental regulation has meant that such provisioning has not resulted in significantly increased access to the services for the population (Sodhi and Rabbani,

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