Obamacare. The word alone is one surrounded by controversy and debate with it currently being a central cause the federal shutdown with the Congress remaining in a deadlock after failing to reach an agreement on a short term spending bill. This is mainly due to a stronghold of very right wing Republicans, who Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has referred to as ‘Tea Party radicals’ holding firm against the budget, thus leaving the Senate in a deadlock. Strangely America has seen all the attention from this deadlock being focused on how Obamacare will change the lives of the US citizens.
Now to most reading this this seems like an obvious focus with, of course, the start and national application of Obamacare finally allowing those who cannot now afford a basic level of healthcare, due to being unable to afford health insurance, to be provided with this through government subsidisation. Those approximate 32 million uninsured Americans will be required to buy health insurance or pay a fine. Furthermore, the Obamacare bill stops insurers turning people away with existing medical problems as well as charging women more. To put it very simply, and this is at a stretch, it is a more basic and less all-encompassing American version of our NHS, and is a pledge that has signed the USA up to near universal healthcare, costing approximately $940 billion. It is this large cost which has stirred up opposition in the Republican camp where the Tea Party faction are adamant in de-funding Obamacare.
In regards to the deadlock’s economic consequences, again, that is something that has broadly been reported on with a very America-focus lens, with there being very real and widespread consequences for Americans during this shutdown. These repercussions range from more than 2 million federal workers seeing their paycheques delayed, to millions of veterans not receiving benefits as well as the tourist industry being hit severely hard.
This is all well and good to take out our violins and shed a tear for the American public, but it seems the broader, global ramifications of Obamacare and this deadlock have been forgotten. One area where such a policy will, or would, have had a massive impact is within India. It seems many forget the foundations of which people obtain better healthcare, drugs and other forms of manufactured medication. With Obamacare being a government program, the drive to use ‘generic drugs’, which are cheaper due to not being ‘branded’ and sold under a generic name, with it being able to be produced by various manufacturers due a lack of patent protection will be appealing. Why? Keeping costs down in relation to this policy is something obviously attractive, especially due to it mixed reception and popularity and the use of these generic drugs is seen as the best way.
Such drugs, currently, are largely sourced from India and thus it seems under Obamacare, the US will have a lot more business to offer the Asian state as demand for such drugs will inevitably increase under the health program. Now with nearly 40% of generic drugs used in the USA being sourced from the India by the US currently, the application of Obamacare is forecast to bring a 25-30% annual rise in the industry. Such a growth would, inevitably, spark mass job creation in India’s pharmaceutical sector, strengthening the economy massively. Furthermore, with this expected mass increase in demand, India’s IT field will also benefit from this new business, with there inevitably being a need for a complete remodelling of the healthcare provision system.
Although, having said this, it is not all plain sailing for India. One of the main issues they face are new pressures to ensure the standards of this drugs meet the requirements and expectations of the US government. This is something seen to be of a concern for America, who have been stepping up their presence in India, approving 150 FDA plants (US Food and Drug Administration) as an extra layer of quality control. In addition to this, several plants have been penalised for lapses, which experts believe to be positive step in the right direction with it increasingly faith and confidence in the quality and standard of Indian manufactured drugs.
Having said all of this however, none of these prospects even have a glimpse of becoming a reality with the deadlock that the senate has found itself in. So will this deadlock result in the loss of mass business that could greatly help the Indian economy, American and Indian relations as well as the healthcare of ordinary Americans? Well, only time will tell.