Mahinda’s recent visit to the US seems to be for some medical treatment or for a medical checkup. Whether it was for a treatment or a checkup, he is rich enough to fly to the America to see a doctor. Technically its his money so he can spend it on anything he wishes (I didn’t take his corruption record into account when I wrote this). But how can he expect Bandara’s wife to pay for her husband’s illness. (And Bandara is the guy who gets drunk every night.)
Maithiripala Sirisena is an outspoken minister. Too outspoken that at most times he speaks rubbish. If you speak rubbish and don’t have the authority to affect my life or Bandara’s wife’s life, I don’t give a damn. But, Maithiripala seems to be our country’s health minister and if all that he says is put into action you and I are screwed. So when he said that drunkards like Bandara have to pay for their medical treatment, being (almost) a teetotaler I felt that my “good habit” was being rewarded by an increasingly morally righteous government.
But hang on, if Bandara’s sickness is due to drinking how would the government know that he has been drinking?. Obviously, the doctor’s got to tell the government. How does the doctor know of Bandara’s bad habit? Bandara or his wife has to tell the doctor, but if someone has to pay for confessing, why would they confess. Or if Bandara was drinking alcohol just before seeing the doctor, his blood alcohol level will witness against him. But does it mean, uncles and aunties who get drunk at our weddings have to pay for healthcare, if say they have a heart attack (I pray they don’t) while dancing for a baila, simply because alcohol level in their blood was too high that hour.
More importantly, we expect doctors to keep secrets, and they expect us to be open to them, so that they can help us. But how can we be open to a medic who is going to share our habits with a third-party.
Our government has been on a spree of implementing needless policies this year. Changing name from “Ceylon” to “Sri Lanka”, without any changes in the operational structure of mostly loss making government entities that bare/bore the name “Ceylon” was its flagship new year policy.
If someone’s sick because they’ve been drinking, they’ve been irresponsible. But it’s not the he/she who would likely pay for healthcare, it would be the already impoverished family that will have to take the blow.
I think this a step taken by the government to charge its citizens for healthcare and I think it would gradually spread once people don’t see it strange and get used to the system of paying at a government hospital.
Access to quality healthcare and basic education are basic rights for all. Charging for either doesn’t make it accessible to all. If the government wants to increase its revenue why not privatize loss making government-owned entities, especially some of those undergoing a name change. If you can’t make constructive reforms, let the status quo exist until a new generation rises up to take its place. Please don’t mess the system more. At the moment most of us can’t afford to pay to see a doctor in Sri Lanka unlike the President whos doctor is in America.