US President, Barack Obama's reference to India's 'cheap healthcare' has been severely criticized and questioned by several political and medical personalities.
The president had been addressing the issue of medicare in the US, when, terming it as "one of the most important pillars of our social safety net," he urged Americans not "to travel to Mexico or India to get cheap healthcare."
Azad protested that India does not provide "cheap" but "affordable" healthcare without compromising on quality. The BJP spokesperson has called US motives into question, accusing Obama of following a protectionism policy. Well-known cardio-vascular surgeon, Naresh Trehan declared that the quality of institutions in India was as good as or better than the best in the US.
Dr. Ramkant Panda, the head of Asian Heart Institute in Mumbai
taking exception to this remark stated that it is an erroneous opinion that India represents cheap healthcare. "Our medicos, in various fields, compete with the best in the world and India as a country represents high quality and not cheap healthcare." He commented that comparing the value of the dollar with the rupee and arriving at the conclusion that healthcare in India is cheap should not be accepted.
Although most patients from abroad come from the Middle East and Africa, and only a less than 5 per cent are from the US, it is felt that the potential for more American patients visiting India will not be affected by the US President's stricture.