|LETTER TO EDITOR
|Year : 2018 | Volume
| Issue : 1 | Page : 59-60
National Health Protection Scheme: A Proposal in the Budget 2018 – Medical Care Facilities Essential for Utilizing the Proposal
V. R Minocha
Formerly, Professor & Head, Department of Surgery, University College of Medical Sciences (University of Delhi), Delhi, India
|Date of Web Publication||27-Mar-2018|
V. R Minocha
20 A, S.D.F., Sector 15 A, Noida 201301, Uttar Pradesh
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Minocha VR. National Health Protection Scheme: A Proposal in the Budget 2018 – Medical Care Facilities Essential for Utilizing the Proposal. MAMC J Med Sci 2018;4:59-60
|How to cite this URL:|
Minocha VR. National Health Protection Scheme: A Proposal in the Budget 2018 – Medical Care Facilities Essential for Utilizing the Proposal. MAMC J Med Sci [serial online] 2018 [cited 2019 Dec 8];4:59-60. Available from: http://www.mamcjms.in/text.asp?2018/4/1/59/228662
National Health Protection Scheme is announced in this year’s budget comprising insurance policy of 5 lakhs per family per year for 10 crore vulnerable families deserving assistance in the illness crisis in the family. Beneficiaries are reportedly to be identified based on Socio-Economic Caste census 2011. This is a bold and ambitious effort necessitating serious attention to addressing various issues and concerns for successful and meaningful implementation.
Medical insurance coverage is a useful instrument in alleviating the financial miseries of illness episodes in the family, but accessible reliable medical care facilities is a prerequisite.
Healthcare delivery is a “public good” activity and the Government cannot abdicate its responsibility. It is not a merely a theoretical jargon but an important practical proposition for responsive governance in the field of medical care. The issue is not whether to provide medical care facilities but how to meet the requirements. The problem merits serious attention and efforts in establishing comprehensive general hospitals aimed at primary and specialized services.
The location of hospitals may play an important role in maximizing the utilization of services by careful detailed planning so as to cover maximum population. The practice of establishing big institutions across the road or in close proximity leading to the duplication of equipment and the resultant wastage of resources is unfortunate.
The health sector deserves a higher allocation of budgetary support. The hospitals are labor-intensive sector providing large number of jobs at all levels including unskilled/semiskilled/skilled/professional. The jobs in the hospital include a large number of women. The allocations under these different heads in the budget can gainfully be used in health sector as a part of fulfilling their primary objectives.
In addition, efforts may be initiated to mobilize private funds including contributions from philanthropists/Non Government Organizations (NGOs), using funds under corporate social responsibility and so on. These funds may be used toward land and construction, and specialized equipments such as Computerised Tomography/Magnetic Resonance Imaging (CT/MRI) and so on. Due credit needs to be given to these entities; however the management must remain with the Government.
Cost containment is essential to ensure providing good quality affordable medical care services by the application of appropriate technology. Protocols/practice guidelines must be formulated and adhered to strictly so as to avoid unnecessary investigations/procedures and overmedication. The practice of prescribing generic medicines and restricting to essential drugs must be made compulsory in these hospitals.
The system of government hospitals providing all services free to all segments of society needs to be revisited. The hospitals should provide paid services also for which the purpose schedule of charges has to be determined possibly linked to paying capacity, and subsidized for the poor who are not entitled to be covered by the insurance. In this way, the hospitals will be able to generate some funds which should remain with the institution for further development. Additional revenue can be generated by leasing out spare space for hoardings/advertisements and so on.
Benefits under the insurance should include the medicines and investigations prescribed to the patients in OPDs, which will reduce the unnecessary and better utilization of indoor patient beds.
Private/corporate hospitals contribute a great deal toward overall medical care service delivery system, and their involvement in operationalizing the scheme will be immense value. Nevertheless some supervisory measures may have to be put in place to moderate the charges from patients other than those covered by National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS).
It may be worthwhile to consider extending the scheme to those who are willing to self-pay the premium, thereby increasing the size of “group” with resultant reduction in the premium payable. This will be a step in the right direction toward universal coverage by the Health and Medical Insurance.
There is no doubt that the insurance scheme will be of great help in coping with crisis during any illness episode in the family. Hopefully, the development of infrastructure of medical care facilities and the prerequisite of functioning general hospital are given its due place in the planning so as to draw the desired maximum advantage of National Health Protection Scheme.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.