[op-ed snap] Get cracking: Ayushman Bharat programme

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Mains Paper 2: Governance | Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the Ayushman Bharat Programme

Mains level: Ayushman Bharat Programme discussed in the newscard and its possible benefits.


What is the issue?

  1. The government has lost precious time in initiating a health scheme that serves the twin purposes of achieving universal coverage and saving people from high health care costs

Fresh hopes: Ayushman Bharat

  1. Fresh hopes have been raised with the announcement of Ayushman Bharat in Budget 2018
    The plan has the components of 
  2. Opening health centres for diagnostics, care and distribution of essential drugs as envisaged in the National Health Policy
  3. And a National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS) to provide a cover of up to Rs. 5 lakh each for 10 crore poor and vulnerable families for hospitalisation
  4. The government has provided Rs. 3,200 crore for the programme areas
  5. The task before the Centre is to now draw up an implementation roadmap

Lessons from other developing countries

  1. Developing countries that launched universal health coverage schemes over a decade ago, such as Mexico, had to address some key challenges
  2. These included transfer of resources to provinces, recruitment of health personnel, and purchase and distribution of medicines to the chosen units
  3. All these apply to India

Need of insurance in health care system

  1.  A national health system will also have to subsume all existing state-funded insurance schemes
  2. This will give beneficiaries access not just within a particular State but across the country to empanelled hospitals
  3. But the early experience with state-funded insurance for the poor shows that some private hospitals may resort to unnecessary tests and treatments to inflate claims
  4. Determination of treatment costs by the government is therefore important

Health Centres under the Ayushman Bharat programme

  1. Local health centres are planned under the Ayushman Bharat programme
  2. These centres has tremendous potential to play a preventive role by reducing the incidence and impact of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and hypertension
  3. Such centres can dispense free essential medication prescribed by all registered doctors and procured through a centralised agency
Health Sector – UHC, National Health Policy, Family Planning, Health Insurance, etc.
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