Budget 2018: Experts hail healthcare scheme

The scheme will cover about 2.43 crore families in the state.

Mumbai: Healthcare experts have hailed the 2018 Union Budget as the Flagship National Healthcare Protection Scheme (NHPS) could be accessed by approximately 10 crore poor families. Under the scheme, up to Rs 5 lakh will be provided per family each year for secondary and tertiary-care hospitalisation in what is being claimed as the world’s largest government-funded healthcare programme.

Universal health coverage will be expanded and Rs 600 crore has been allocated for tuberculosis patients, at the rate Rs 500 per month during the course of their treatment. Arun Jaitley also announced setting up of one medical college for every three parliamentary constituencies, with 24 new government medical colleges also being envisioned. The government will also work on upgrading hospitals to medical colleges. According to the officer from state health department, “The budget has just been announced. Our state need to ratify various schemes that receive 40 per cent funding by the state government and 60 per cent from the Centre.”

“This budget is good and the health sector needs more development. People in tribal areas are afraid to seek medical treatment. We need that area to benefits from this budget too,” he added.

Dr Pavan Kumar, senior cardiac surgeon, from Lilavati Hospital, who was critical of the budget, said, “There is no provision for improvement in present government hospitals and so there is no point of announcement of another 24 medical colleges.” He said, “Private healthcare provides around 75 to 80 per cent of healthcare in the country so we are expecting some private and public partnership deal in this budget which will automatically improve better healthcare access in rural India. But there has been no such announcement,” He also added, “Unfortunately, healthcare and job creation has not been considered in this Union Budget.”

The state is working on an insurance scheme for the poor with orange ration cards for emergency cases such as road accidents or heart attacks to save lives in the critical golden hour. The state government will cover treatment cost up to Rs 30,000 for 24 hours from the time of the accident at private or government hospitals. The scheme will cover about 2.43 crore families in the state.

Indian Medical Associ-ation chairman Dr K.K. Aggarwal said, “These new initiatives under Ayushman Bharat programme will build a new India 2022 and ensure or enhance productivity and well-being and avert impoverishment. We are progressing towards universal health coverage.”

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