It is ironical that a state that boasts of state-of-the-art government and private hospitals fails to find competent doctors within its own geographical limits to heal even diabetes-related complications of its top politicians. So is the case when it comes to legal matters—the Kerala government prefers lawyers from the national capital to protect the ruling party’s interest in cases of sensational political murders. Splurging colossal amounts of money from the public exchequer on medical and legal aid is quite regular with the Kerala government.
If the data available with the Information and Public Relations department (IPRD) of the Kerala government is any indication, it has become the norm among the state’s ministers and legislators to fly off to top hospitals in the United States of America (USA) even for minor treatments, disregarding the state’s achievements in sectors of public health and medical education. Politicians across the spectrum, and the Left leaders in particular, prefer the USA for medical treatment, as they take a temporary break from their routine anti-imperialistic rhetoric. (Don’t ask inconvenient questions like why they wouldn’t prefer to seek treatment in the Communist haven of Cuba instead, with all its reputation in the field of medicine.)
Communist Party of India (Marxist) State Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan was the latest to find quality treatment for diabetes-related complications at Houston, in his capacity as a former legislator and state Home Minister. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, and former Chief Minister, Oommen Chandy, had availed treatment in the USA at government expenses in the recent months. However, nobody has broken the record set by former minister and LDF legislator Thomas Chandy, of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)—a millionaire himself—in getting medical reimbursements. The cost of his treatment in the United States was a whopping Rs 1.91 crores. The rationale of politicians trooping to foreign locales for treatment using public money disregarding Kerala’s achievements in healthcare and the state’s dire financial straits is lost on many.