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‘Modicare’ More Than Insurance But It’s a Work in Progress, Says health minister JP Nadda

The FM allocated Rs 2,000 crore for the National Health Scheme to cover 10 crore households with an annual umbrella of Rs 5 lakh for medical needs.

Rounak Kumar Gunjan | News18.com@Rounak_T

Updated:February 2, 2018, 5:20 PM IST
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‘Modicare’ More Than Insurance But It’s a Work in Progress, Says health minister JP Nadda
File photo of Union health minister JP Nadda.
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New Delhi: A day after finance minister Arun Jaitley announced the world’s biggest healthcare scheme, health minister Jagat Prakash Nadda said on Friday that it will be more than just insurance. “We are working on the intricate details of the scheme and will come out with a definite plan soon. The scheme will not only be insurance,” said the health minister.

The FM allocated Rs 2,000 crore for the National Health Scheme to cover 10 crore households with an annual umbrella of Rs 5 lakh for medical needs. The scheme is being dubbed as ‘Modicare’ drawing parallels from Obamacare in the US.

Budget 2016 had talked about providing monetary assistance of Rs 1 lakh per family. "The Government will launch a new health protection scheme which will provide health cover up-to rupees one lakh per family. For Senior citizens of the age 60 years and above belonging to this category, an additional top-up package up to Rs 30, 000 will be provided," read a statement from the centre from 2016.

This scheme, so far, went without an approval from the Union Cabinet. In its new avatar as “one of the largest healthcare programmes in the world” as per Jaitley, the scheme will now provide Rs 5 lakh per family and aims to cover around 10 crore families or 50 crore people.

The health minister also said that district hospitals will be upgraded as medical colleges. “We have identified blocks where district hospitals will be turned to medical colleges,” said Nadda.

Congress leader P Chidambaram on Thursday slammed the Union Budget, terming the promise of Rs 5 lakh for healthcare for poor families as "a big jumla".

Referring to the proposed national health protection scheme, he said it will entail huge expenditure but no money has been provided for it.

"The promise of Rs 5 lakh per family for secondary and tertiary healthcare is a big 'jumla'. The target group is 10 crore families. Assuming each family will avail of Rs 50,000 - one-tenth of Rs 5 lakh - the amount required per year will be Rs 5 lakh crore," he said.

He said if the insurance companies will foot the bill, the estimated premium at Rs 5,000 to Rs 15,000 per family will require an outgo from Rs 50,000 crore to Rs 1.5 lakh crore per year. "Is the finance minister serious?" he asked

Former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh said he was "worried" about the "fiscal arithmetic" of the Union budget and wondered how the government was planning to meet its promises.

An analysis by the Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability (CBGA) traces how the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) was split, in 2015-16, into two components of health and social security, renamed the Rashtriya Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (RSSY) in 2016 and the NHPS in 2017.

The CBGA analysis of the scheme, in one form or the other, from 2012 onwards shows that its allocation peaked in the 2016-17 budget estimate (BE) at Rs 1500 crore. The revised estimate (RE) for the year was Rs 724 crore. The BE for 2017-18 was Rs 1000 crore. However, the actual expenditure was less than half this allocated amount, a paltry Rs 471 crore.

Despite this, the new allocation for the RSBY is Rs 2000 crore.

With the health allocation getting a boost in the Union Budget-2018, Health Minister on Thursday immediately after the Budget took to Twitter to post his “gratefulness” for the significant increase of 11.5%.

The ministry’s budget, which was Rs 47352.51 crore during 2017-2018, has now been increased to Rs 52,800 crore.

K. Sujatha Rao, the former union secretary of the ministry of health and family welfare, tweeted: “Excellent initiative in the recent budget for health for the poor. Kudos to the government ... extremely excited that the drought facing health may be over.’’whats
| Edited by: Tarun Bhardwaj
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