Health an orphan, Ayushman Bharat insurance scheme poorly structured: IMA chief – ET HealthWorld

New Delhi: Terming health as an “orphan” Indian Medical Association Chief Dr RV Ashokan says no lessons have been learned after the Covid crisis and it does not come as a top priority for political parties, as everyone is in the “all is well” zone. Speaking to PTI editors, Ashokan also described the government’s flagship Ayushman Bharat Health insurance policy As “poorly structured and underfunded” and called for increased investment in the health sector.

“Health is an orphan. No one wants to talk about health even after the Covid pandemic, where it was even seriously felt as a matter of internal security. We have not learned any lessons. We are in the same situation.” “All is well.” Zone,” he said.

Responding to a question on focusing on the sector during the ongoing elections, Ashokan said, “Sadly, health is not among the top priorities of political parties.”

Discussing the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY) scheme in detail, Ashokan said the scheme had a “great vision” and there were a lot of expectations from it.

“But it was poorly structured. And underfunded to such an extent that it would collapse. Why I say this is because it was conceived by the Prime Minister for people below the poverty line, but maybe it was structured policy commission And bureaucrats,” Ashokan said.

“Care in government hospitals is already free. So what new does the patient get? Whether it is through a government hospital or through Ayushman Bharat, the patient does not get anything new. So the goodwill that was to be generated among the public There was no political gain.”

He said, “According to the calculations that he himself has put before the country, we need at least Rs 1.6 lakh crore annually to run that scheme. It started with Rs 6,800 crore. And now it is Rs 12,000 crore. Is.”

The IMA president said he would like the government to be in charge of health, investing in public hospitals and public infrastructure and public human resources.

“Whatever investment has been made in health is inadequate. People spend about 3.9 per cent of GDP on health. The central and state governments together spend 1.1 to 1.3 per cent of GDP, which is inadequate,” he said ”

Citing the 2011 High Level Expert Group report on universal health coverage for India by the erstwhile Planning Commission, he said the government has to ensure a basic package for all citizens, whether poor or rich. “Plus, they can buy care,” Ashokan explained.

The same document states that the government should strategically purchase from the private sector for people below the poverty line.

“And a 2021 report by NITI Aayog titled Health Insurance for India’s Missing Middle said that 10 per cent of Indians can pay for themselves, 25 per cent will be taken care of by the Ayushman Bharat scheme and the rest, which is around 90 Crores are being spent on private health insurance.

“After 10 years of the Planning Commission document, throwing us into the insurance industry is not acceptable,” he said.

However, in his view, India’s health model is better than advanced economies like the US and UK.

“In the United States… 20 percent of the American population does not get care after spending 15 percent of its GDP. Insurance is a failed model. The American model of insurance will not be suitable for us. Even during Covid, We did this because of the steel frame that is better than these rich countries. public health system we have. The poor had somewhere to go,” he said.

Comparing it with Britain’s National Health Service (NHS), Ashokan said India is different.

“Here in India you can meet a doctor in most places… This is not true of the West… and you cannot meet a doctor very easily. Today we have done this at a very low cost Our logic is not to lose what we have.

“We are the best model. This is being done despite everything because of the middle sector of small and medium hospitals in India. You have the government sector, you have the for-profit corporate sector but in between there are small and medium hospitals. by doctors all over the country.”

These were mostly doorstep family enterprises, he said.

Emphasizing that the entrepreneurship of the medical profession in India is unique and an asset that must be protected, he said that the regulations coming in now are eroding the sector.

  • Published on May 1, 2024 at 06:27 am IST

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