New Delhi: Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Monday that initiatives such as Rs 1,200-crore allocation for Ayushman Bharat programme and providing Rs 5 lakh annual cover to 10 crore families for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation would historically be seen as 'Modicare'.
The Centre on Monday announced the world's largest government-funded healthcare programme. The National Health Protection Scheme, announced by the FM in his Budget for 2018-19, will cover approximately 50 crore people.
Presenting his fifth straight budget in the Lok Sabha, Jaitley said the government will set up 24 new government medical colleges and hospitals by upgrading existing district hospitals in the country.
Noting that only a healthy India can be a prosperous India, he said India cannot realise its demographic dividend without its citizens being healthy.
"We will launch a flagship National Health Protection Scheme to cover over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families (approximately 50 crore beneficiaries) providing coverage up to Rs 5 lakh rupees per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation. This will be the world's largest government-funded health care programme. Adequate funds will be provided for smooth implementation of this programme," the finance minister said while presenting the budget for 2018-19," he said.
Jaitley added that his government has decided to take health protection to a "more aspirational level" and observed that several state governments have also implemented or supplemented health protection schemes with varying coverage plans.
The present Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) provides annual coverage of only Rs 30,000 to poor families.
To further enhance the accessibility of quality medical education and health care, the government will set up 24 new government medical colleges and hospitals by upgrading existing district hospitals in the country, the finance minister announced.
Jaitley said the National Health Policy 2017 envisioned health and wellness centres as the foundation of India's health system. He committed Rs 1,200 crore for the National Health Policy. This would go towards 1.5 lakh health and wellness centres to bring health care closer to the homes of people.
After the budget, Health Minister JP Nadda tweeted:
Thank you Hon’ble PM . https://t.co/fALqULR8qe
— Jagat Prakash Nadda (@JPNadda) February 1, 2018
The move by the Modi government is being compared to 'Obamacare'. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or the Affordable Care Act (ACA), known as 'Obamacare' was signed into law by the then US President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010. The term was first used by opponents, then re-appropriated by supporters and eventually used by Obama himself.
It represents the US healthcare system's most significant regulatory overhaul and expansion of coverage since the passage of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965.
The ACA's major provisions came into force in 2014. By 2016, the uninsured share of the population had roughly halved, with estimates ranging from 20–24 million additional people covered during 2016.
The law also enacted a host of delivery system reforms intended to constrain healthcare costs and improve quality.
(With inputs from PTI and Wikipedia)