Sunday January 21, 2018

Obamacare: Lessons Indian healthcare can imbibe

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health-621353_640By Dr. J.K. Bhutani

The healthcare system of any country, be it US or India essentially has three key players, viz. Providers, Payers and the Public Health. The successive governments have had many successes inter playing these keys and such actions have led to many improvements in the US healthcare delivery systems. But much work still remains to be done. The private and public insurance reforms and other interventions apart, one in six Americans still does not have insurance cover and thus, cannot access the best health care.

The infant mortality, the life expectancy, other health parameters and quality of healthcare have improved over the years but the cost escalation has increased to disturbing levels too. The US health care costs are disturbingly high, so much so that the providers are sometimes labeled as ‘Working just for commerce and profits unlike the forefathers who worked for serving the humanity’.

From Harry Truman shortly after World War II, to Barack Obama now, many presidents have tried to reform the US healthcare system. The most laudable and controversial has been ‘The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010’ or ACA, which has attempted to recognize and support the key role of Public Health in the healthcare system. The US Supreme Court recently upheld the nationwide availability of tax subsidies for the implementation of President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law… Obamacare (Affordable Care Act – 2010).

Of the four components of any health delivery system (Patients, providers, payers, and public health), The Affordable Care Act attempts for more funding and key role of Public Health. The ACA shall reduce ‘out of pocket’ expenses and bring all preventative care under insurance… subsides by the Federal Government. All developing economies including India, need to learn and strengthen the Public Health institutions from the greedy corporates and their ‘Target-business’ models of health delivery for hospitals and service providers.

Other issues which need attention in US and India are –

1. The American health system with a provision of ‘cutting edge technology’, ‘micro-specialization’ and the ‘best evidence-based practice state of the art medicine’, is the role model for the whole world. The costs are more essentially because of the excessive reliance on the investigative ‘work up’ for fear of litigation. The bulk of the common diseases which have self-limiting course are also worked up unnecessarily.

The primary care strengthening should address this and some strategy can be evolved and legislated to keep common day-to-diseases out of the ambit of litigation. This single step can reduce the cost of nearly 80 percent of the diseases which have an insignificant or self-limiting course.

2. The onus of responsibility exclusively on the Federal Government though sounds responsible but is more of a populist measure for winning the elections in democratic set ups. The onus of the physical and mental health of the family and children should be the responsibility of the parents and the role of the governments should be to improve the social component of health like providing good civil conditions and good environment including water, housing etc.

3. The Insurance concept makes us all reckless with our health and should not be owned completely by the governments and should be shared by the people especially for the Metabolic disorders and Lifestyle diseases like Obesity, Hypertension, Diabetes, Trauma, Alcoholism, Drug Abuse, etc. for which the person himself should pay and Federal Government should only have affirmative role in such diseases. These should be out of ambit of Medicare or Medicaid and insurance subsidies….!

JK1

Dr J.K.Bhutani MD is a protagonist of preventive and promotive health care based on austere biology and facilitating self-healing powers of human organism.
You can follow him at https://twitter.com/drjkbhutani

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12 things you must know about cold drinks in India

If you're addicted to cold drinks, chances are that you are not the only one.

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By Ruchika Verma

  • Cold drinks are one of the lesser known addictions in India
  • Sodas or cold drinks be it cola or non-cola can have harmful effects on us
  • The key is to consume cold drinks in moderation and not excessively

If you’re addicted to cold drinks, chances are that you are not the only one. Everyone loves the sugary, carbonated taste of cold drinks, especially during summers.

Cold drinks tastes good, but they have some harmful effects on us too. VOA
Cold drinks taste good, but they have some harmful effects on us too. VOA

Even in winters, we don’t really hesitate in consuming our favourite cold drinks. However, it is important to know their effect on our health and environment. Here is the list of 12 things you must know about cold drinks:

Obesity

Increase consumption of soda or cold drinks is said to one of the major reasons for high obesity rates and other health problems associated with it, as per some health experts. One can of soda contains about 150 calories, which if consumed regularly, can increase your weight by 6 kgs per year.

Sodas and cold drinks can cause obesity and diabetes. VOA
Sodas and cold drinks can cause diseases like obesity and diabetes. VOA

Causes Diabetes

High consumption of cold drinks can cause diseases like Type 2 Diabetes. Use of artificial sweetener leads to diabetes and thus children and sugar patients should refrain from consuming soft drinks in excessive amount.

Tooth decay

Cold drinks can cause tooth decay and no, not even your toothpaste and toothbrush can save you from this. The acid in cold drinks can damage your teeth more than sugar. The acid present in soft drinks weakens tooth enamel, which leads to cavities and tooth decay.

Also Read: 5 Drinks Which Will Help You Lose Weight

Cold drinks can cause a lots of harm to our body and its immunity. Wikimedia Commons
Cold drinks can cause lots of harm to our body and its immunity. Wikimedia Commons

Caffeine dependency

Many carbonated drinks, be it cola and non-cola, contain caffeine. Caffeine is addictive and can cause insomnia, irritability and other related symptoms in some people. If one is already having problems with caffeine, they should avoid cold drinks as much as they can.

Nutrition deficiency

It may sound quite weird, but it all boils down to the fact that sodas and cold drinks are simply not healthy. Many people have a habit of choosing soda over other beverages like water, milk, juice, etc. If you are one of those people too, chances are, you’re not getting the required amount of nutrients into your body.

One should go for healthier alternatives of cold drinks. Wikimedia Commons
One should go for healthier alternatives of soft drinks. Wikimedia Commons

Weak bones

Not getting required nutrients will obviously have an effect on your health. However, cold drinks can affect your bones as well. Studies suggest that excess consumption of soft drinks which contains acid can reduce the calcium quotient of our bones by preventing the nutrient from getting absorbed.

Artificial sweeteners

This should not really come as a surprise. All cold drinks have artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners are not necessarily unhealthy. However, recent studies show that long-term consumption can damage our sugar taste receptors, leading us to crave more sugar oriented food.

Also Read: Sugary drinks responsible for 1 in 200 deaths

Cold drinks can cause tooth decay, obesity, etc. Wikimedia Commons
Cold drinks can cause tooth decay, obesity, etc. Wikimedia Commons

Slows Metabolism

When tired, try not to consume cold drinks and instead go for fresh juice or water. A soft drink can decrease your metabolism rate by 2 times. It also destroys fat burning enzymes leading to obesity.
Affects Reproduction Capabilities
Few studies have suggested that the use of artificial sweeteners in cold drinks, like saccharin and sucralose, can affect reproduction capabilities in humans. It can decrease the chances of pregnancy in women. The presence of caffeine in cold drinks can also decrease the sperm count in men, it may affect the quality of the sperm too.
There are many brands which are famous in India and are regularly consumed. Wikimedia Commons
There are many brands which are famous in India and are regularly consumed. Wikimedia Commons
Top Selling Brands of cold drinks in India
In India, a cold drink is consumed every minute by someone. The most popular brands of cold drinks in India are Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Thumbs Up. Other drinks include Limca, Mountain Dew and Sprite, which have the lemon essence in them. There are other brands like Fanta and Miranda too which are orange flavoured and less preferred drinks.
Controversies
Controversies and cold drinks are almost synonymous. There have been many controversies which revolve around cold drinks and its effects on our health. Concerns over usage of water, accusations over pesticides and sweeteners, and also, the general concerns about how these drinks are unhealthy, keep on plaguing these drinks.
Coca Cola is known to spend a huge amount of money on its advertisement campaigns. Wikimedia Common
Coca-Cola is known to spend a huge amount of money on its advertisement campaigns. Wikimedia Common
Advertising Expenses 
Cold drink brands hire the most famous celebrities to be their brand ambassadors. Their campaigns are often huge and present ideas which are larger than life. A lot of money is being spent on the advertising of these soft drinks. Coca-Cola normally spends up to $3.499 billion in a year on its advertising campaigns.