Health Care

Budget 2018: National Health Protection Scheme to be implemented from Gandhi Jayanti

Budget 2018: National Health Protection Scheme to be implemented from Gandhi Jayanti”

By providing a health cover of Rs 500,000 per family, it takes into account the on-ground reality in terms of rising cost of medical inflation and the need to adequately cover Indians from health-related hazards.

Union health minister Jagat Prakash Nadda on Friday said finance would "never be a problem" for the proposed National Health Protection Scheme that seeks to provide a Rs 5-lakh cover per family per year, amid concerns among some health analysts about its bill.

Andhra Pradesh's existing Aarogya Raksha scheme now covers 1,044 diseases for which protected households could seek treatment in any of 400 government and state-empanelled hospitals across the state.

Asked about the age brackets for the health cover under the scheme, Nadda said that "geriatrics (old age) will be very specifically covered". "It's not on reimbursement model because too many complaints come on the reimbursement model", the minister said here.

The government has allocated Rs 2,000 crore for the scheme but official sources said the expenditure in the first year could be to the tune of Rs 3,000 crore.

Mr. Jaitley saud the government would work towards covering all poor households, including SC/ST households, under the Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Beema Yojana and the Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana.

The scheme although appreciated by experts also raises apprehension about its implementation and the initial corpus of just Rs 2,000 crore. "For this Rs 2,000 crore has been kept for it as of now". "The government will require Rs 5,000-Rs 6,000 crore to start the scheme", said Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant.

Yesterday, Jaitley in the Budget speech had said, "We are all aware that lakhs of families in our country have to borrow or sell assets to receive indoor treatment in hospitals". Government is seriously concerned about such impoverishment of poor and vulnerable families.

The National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS) which will be a joint venture of both Centre and State, according to reports, at least 4 in every 10 people will be able avail the benefits of this scheme. "Present RSBY provides annual coverage of only Rs 30,000 to poor families".

The finance minister urged the private sector to support the government's healthcare initiatives through their corporate social responsibility and philanthropic activities.

The government will launch "Revitalizing of Infrastructure and Systems in Education" by 2022 with a total investment of Rs 1 lakh crore in next 4 years. Comprehensive health care, including for non-communicable diseases and maternal and child health services, and free essential drugs and diagnostic services are to be provided at the centres.

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