The Central Government in India has recently announced the National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS) as a part of Ayushman Bharat programme for the fiscal year 2018-19.
NHPS, the world’s largest government-funded health programme, is likely to prove beneficial to approximately 10 crore economically vulnerable people, with Rs 5 lakh insurance cover per family per year. The families are required to pay an annual sum of 1,000 or 1,200 under this scheme.
The government will require a sum of 12000 crores for its implementation, cost of which will be shared between the state and central government on a 60:40 basis. Amitabh Kant, CEO of Policy Commission said that 60 percent of the total expenditure in this scheme will be borne by the central government while 40 percent of the expenditure will be incurred by the state government.
The Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley said that the initiatives in the health sector aim to strengthen health care and offer financial protection from catastrophic expenditure, in primary, secondary and tertiary care systems.
“My government has now decided to take health protection to a more aspirational level,” Mr Jaitley said, announcing the proposed National Health Protection Scheme and committing ₹1,200 crore for health and wellness centres.
This scheme builds on the existing Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna - a health insurance scheme for the people under the poverty line.
For the first time, under this scheme, tuberculosis patients will be given 500 rupees per month for medical assistance and to add nutritious food in their diet.
Tuberculosis is one of the biggest causes of mortality among the poor in India due to the absence of nutritious food in their diet and improper medical assistance. The government has arranged for 600 crores for the same purpose.
Effective implementation for the success of the programme is needed and clarity on what services will be provided by government health facilities and for which conditions patients will have to use private parties and what mechanisms are being thought of.
The Health sector of India is under severe stress because of the high cost of healthcare, which forces most of the poor to sell their assets, leading to an even worse situation of poverty in the country. This scheme could be a game-changer for the health sector in India.