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Modicare: Arun Jaitley announces health coverage for poor

Finance minister Arun Jaitley announced a medical reimbursement of up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year for bills incurred in secondary and tertiary care hospitals under its flagship National Health Protection Scheme

india Updated: Feb 01, 2018 23:34 IST
Rhythma Kaul
Rhythma Kaul
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Modicare,union Budget 2018,health insurance
Crowd of patients await their turn at a government hospital.(HT File Photo)

Ayushman Bharat is the government’s new health mantra, with finance minister Arun Jaitley announcing two initiatives to provide up to Rs 5 lakh per family a year for health care coverage of the poor and vulnerable, and a corpus of Rs 1,200 crore to take comprehensive health care, including free essential medicine, closer to home through existing primary, secondary and tertiary health systems.

Finance minister Arun Jaitley announced a medical reimbursement of up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year for bills incurred in secondary and tertiary care hospitals under its flagship National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS 2017).

The medical services sector is optimistic about the scheme leading to large-scale employment opportunities. “It will help create several lakh new jobs as new health care facilities will come up in smaller districts and villages,” said Antony Jacob, CEO, Apollo Munich Health Insurance.

Jaitley allocated Rs 1,200 crore to create health and wellness centres in India’s 1.5 lakh health sub-centres that are expected to bring quality health care at the doorstep of the poor and needy, especially in remote areas. The aim is not just to treat diseases but to also focus on preventive health care.

Lifestyle-related conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, stroke and cancers result in close to 60% of deaths in India.

After announcing 12 new All India Institutes of Medical Sciences since 2014, the budget had no mention of it this year; 24 new medical colleges and hospitals will instead be set up by upgrading district hospitals.

“This is a better move to upgrade the existing district hospitals instead of announcing new hospitals, as these already have working staff and enough patient load for medical students to learn on the job,” said Dr Reddy.

For people being treated for tuberculosis, which infects an estimated 27.9 lakh and kills 4.23 lakh people each year, the finance minister allocated Rs 600 crore for nutritional support at Rs 500 per month for the duration of treatment.

First Published: Feb 01, 2018 23:32 IST