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Expenditure Dept to Cover Implementation Cost: 'Modicare' Dy CEO After IMA Calls Scheme Flawed

The IMA, India’s largest voluntary organisation of doctors and hospitals, had raised concerns over the lack of money allocated to the scheme, called National Health Protection Mission (NHPM), saying that “only a fraction of Rs 1.5 lakh crore required has been allotted.”

Aradhna Wal | News18.com

Updated:June 19, 2018, 9:34 AM IST
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Expenditure Dept to Cover Implementation Cost: 'Modicare' Dy CEO After IMA Calls Scheme Flawed
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New Delhi: After the IMA put out a letter rubbishing most of the claims made by the Centre’s Ayushman Bharat health scheme, the body has been asked to meet CEO Indu Bhushan and the Deputy CEO Dinesh Arora on Friday.

Extending an olive branch of sorts, Arora told News18 that they would sort out any genuine concerns as they believed in “democracy and dialogue.”

The IMA, India’s largest voluntary organisation of doctors and hospitals, had raised concerns over the lack of money allocated to the scheme, called National Health Protection Mission (NHPM), saying that “only a fraction of Rs 1.5 lakh crore required has been allotted.”

This amount is roughly one sixth of what has been removed from a “legitimate health budget”, which, the IMA statement had said, was one billion dollars in the first year of the Modi government.

However, Arora dismissed most of these concerns, saying a token amount of Rs 2000 crore had already been given to the NHPM to set the ball rolling. They also had a “blanket understanding” from the expenditure department to cover whatever costs arose during the course of implementing the scheme.

The IMA also said that the scheme would lose Rs 400 crore to the private health insurance companies, though Arora said he wasn’t sure what the body meant by this.

The IMA, scathingly, had dismissed insurance driven healthcare model as a failed experiment, citing the large gaps in coverage in the United States, where it has been used.

“The current policy change in India will only end up strengthening the insurance business,” said the body. However, Arora reiterated that the government’s long term goal was to move towards a trust model -- where the government itself provides coverage -- and only those states that could not sustain this would retain the insurance model. Already, 12 states have worked out a trust model for the scheme.

“The money allotted for the National Health Protection Scheme would have better served the nation if every Government District Hospital had been strengthened with an infrastructure of Rs 2 crores each.” the IMA statement had added.

Strengthening government hospitals and other facilities is what Arora called supply side financing, where the Centre and the states already spend Rs 1.25 lakh crore. Arora said that the NHPM was the first time a policy focused on demand side financing, as addition to existing health care efforts.

“National accounts say that one third of the beds in all hospitals lie vacant. Let us utilise those first. We’re already working on supply side financing, as the NHM budget has increased and it comes along with comprehensive primary health care,” said Arora.

One of the IMA’s concerns had been raised by private hospitals to the NITI Aayog, earlier -- that the rates were so low they were “abysmal and impracticable”.

“Most of them do not cover even 30 % of the cost of the procedure. No hospital can work on these rates without seriously compromising patient safety. In the garb of cost cutting the Government is exposing the people to danger in the hospitals,” said the statement.

However, any attempts to raise the treatment package rates has been thoroughly squashed by the Union health ministry. At a press conference on June 11, the health secretary Preeti Sudan had told the press that the rates, after much review, had been frozen, a claim reiterated NHPM officials.
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