health concerns entail costs that are unforeseen and many a time colossal. while the government has enabled citizens, poor and middle-class, to build a house for themselves under pradhan mantri awas yojana by providing credit-linked subsidy, the sensitive area of health has skipped the attention.
the present schemes run for enabling access to health-related services – pradhan mantri swasthya suraksha yojana (with two components, one building new aiims and other as upgrading government medical colleges) and rashtriya swasthya bima yojana (insurance cover of inr 30000 p.a. for bpl families) – do not cater pragmatically to needs.
construction of new all-india institute of medical sciences can augment research and teaching of medicine and can eventually hike number of medical practitioners, the same cannot substantially bring down costs involved in treatment of diseases. rsby too doesn’t go beyond basic health facilities for the burden of diseases in india is cumbersome.
contemplating a health scheme, which can be termed ‘pradhan mantri swasthya yojana’, with premium-linked subsidy to buyers of health insurance is more a need than a desire.
both health and housing expenses are entitled to tax breaks, the latter however is also subsidized now by pradhan mantri awas yojana under affordable housing. the same concept needs a duplication in health insurance premium paid by a buyer. under the arrangement, a percentage of premium be paid by government as central sector scheme. the quantum of percentage be dissimilar, aligned to annual income of subscriber.
the need arises in the wake of findings that tell how private sector is increasing its hold over health services and how the dismal picture of state health services is further deteriorating, barring a few exceptions.
the budget for the scheme doesn’t need additional earmarking, budget from pradhan mantri swasthya suraksha yojana can be diverted since the ultimate aim of both is to provide affordable and reliable health services to citizens.