The healthcare programme, Ayushman Bharat Yojana was announced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his Budget for 2018-19. National Health Protection Mission (NHPS) will replace the existing Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana, which provides annual health cover up to Rs 30,000. The NHPS’ coverage is up to Rs 500,000 for a family. Ayushman Bharat aims to cover at least 40 percent of the population, which would be 107.4 million households or about 500 million people of the country.
There are two health sector initiatives under Ayushman Bharat Programme which will able to ensure enhanced productivity well-being, avert wage loss & impoverishment:
Health and Wellness Centre
- The aim of opening more than 1.5 lakh health and health centres across the country which will give free essential medicines and diagnostic services.
- These centres will give comprehensive health care for non-communicable diseases and maternal and child services. In these centres, special coaching will also be provided for the treatment of lifestyle diseases like high blood pressure diabetes etc. The govt has created a provision of Rs.1200 crores for establishing health and wellness centre.
- The government additionally seeks for the cooperation of the corporate to run these centres.
National Health Protection Scheme
- Health insurance coverage of up to Rs. 5 lakh a family a year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization.
- The scheme will cover over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families or around 50 crore people.
- The beneficiaries are going to be entitled to the treatments within the country in government similarly as private hospitals and health care centres.
- The scheme would be Aadhaar enabled and fully cashless.
Comparing Modi Care Vs Obama Care:
- The United States government had provided health insurance for 15% of its population. United States President Barack Obama signed the 2010 plan on Obamacare.
- On the similar lines, India’s Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has announced a plan known as Modicare i.e. the Ayushman Bharat Program in 2018 Budget. In which 40% of the poor Indian people are going to be benefitted which is much more than Obama Care.
Funding of the Ayushman Bharat — National Health Protection Mission (AB-NHPM)
The initial budget of the scheme is Rs 1200 crores, additionally, the money coming back from Cess, (Education and Health Cess raised by 1%) will also be invested in this scheme. The contribution of the private sector through CSR and philanthropic institutions in adopting these centres is also envisaged.
Challenges for Ayushman Bharat Scheme
- The significant challenge is to integrate central and existing state schemes.
- The SECC data is not yet linked with Aadhaar, making the citizen identification gruelling. States would, hence, be provided with the flexibility to expand their existing schemes till the time the SECC data is seeded with Aadhaar.
- Insurance players who play a crucial role in implementing this scheme will have to be taken onboard regarding the premium paid to them so that insurance companies don’t bleed the way they did under RSBY.
In its early assessments on the road to universal health coverage, NITI Aayog had advocated a State-specific approach rather than a grand national health system to expand access. Though the NHPM has a national character, states will play a crucial role in its implementation, with beneficiaries being able to port the service anywhere.
Other Steps to promote Medical Sector in Budget 2018-19
- 24 new Government Medical colleges and Hospitals will be set up in order to further enhance the accessibility of quality medical education and healthcare, by up-grading existing district hospitals within the country. This would ensure that there’s at least one Medical College for every three Parliamentary Constituencies and a minimum of one Government Medical College in each State of the country.
- The Government will give Rs 500 per month to the TB patients, that a provision of Rs 600 crores has been made in the Budget. Previously, the govt has conjointly targeted the elimination of TB by 2025.
Note that: Presently around 67,000 MBBS and 31000, postgraduate (PG) doctors are initiating every year from private and government medical colleges in the country. At AIIMS’s convocation, President Ramnath Kovind had mentioned that this number of doctors for treatment in the country of 130 million people is extremely low.
After a 12 % increase over last year, the budget of the Ministry of Health has reached Rs 56,226 crore. The National Health Policy 2017 had visualized for the expenditure on health to be 2.5% of Gross domestic product, however, this goal continues to evade, since only 1.2% of Gross domestic product has been allocated to the health sector. India endorses the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030, India will have to constantly raise its spending to achieve universal health cover.
Universal health coverage is defined by the WHO as a state when “all people obtain the health services they need without suffering financial hardship when paying for them”.