Skip to main content

Universal health coverage in China, Brazil, Mexico, Sri Lanka, Thailand, OECD "much larger" than Modicare

By Our Representative
Sharply contesting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s claim that the recently-launched public health insurance scheme, Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY), dubbed Modicare, is the world’s largest, renowned development economist Jean Drèze notes, PMJAY is nowhere comparable to “China’s health care system, with its universal coverage”, pointing out, “In per-capita terms, public expenditure on health in China is about five times higher than in India.”
In fact, says Drèze, “Many countries have already achieved universal heath care (UHC), or something very close to it – not only rich countries (including all the OECD countries with the notable exception of the United States) but also many developing countries such as Brazil, Mexico, Sri Lanka and Thailand.”
Known to be a close associate of Nobel laureate Amartya Sen and is a visiting professor at the Department of Economics, Ranchi University, Drèze says in a commentary in a well-known news portal, the term “largest” presumably refers to the proposed population coverage of 50 crore or so, “but the wide coverage is achieved by reducing per-capita expenditure to a microscopic level.”
Noting that PMJAY is one of the two components of the Ayushman Bharat scheme, allocating just Rs 2,000 crore during fiscal 2018-19, Drèze says, this may appear to be double the previous year’s budget allocation of Rs 1,000 crore for Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana, which PMJAY subsumes. However, it also suggests, “there is virtually no new money this year for PMJAY.”
Drèze says, “The government claims that PMJAY will provide a health insurance cover of Rs 5 lakh to 10 crore families (about 50 crore persons)”, wondering, “What would it actually take to provide this sort of insurance cover?”
According to Drèze, “If the beneficiaries spend just one per cent of their Rs 5 lakh quota in a year, on average, then the annual expenditure will come to Rs 50,000 crore. This is a very conservative estimate – if the scheme makes it reasonably easy for people to claim their insurance money, the actual cost could easily be twice as much, or more.”
Pointing out that “there is absolutely no indication that the government is willing to spend that sort of money on PMJAY”, Drèze says, while NITI Aayog experts “anticipate” that the annual PMJAY budget would rise to Rs 10,000 crore, even this is a “chickenfeed for the purpose of providing health insurance to 10 crore families. It comes to Rs 1,000 per family, or Rs 200 per person. For the whole year.”
He asks, “How would you feel if you were told you that your budget for health care this year is Rs 200?”, adding, “An illusion has been created that putting this money in an insurance premium has some sort of multiplier effect.”
Drèze explains, “Insurance can help to redistribute health expenditure towards those who need it most, but it cannot turn Rs 200 into more. If the government spends only Rs 200 per person on health insurance, that’s the amount of health care an average person gets, that too assuming that there are no transaction costs.”
As for another component of Ayusham Bharat, Drèze says, it is the creation of 1,50,000 “health and wellness centres”, with an allocation of Rs 1,200 crore in 2018-19. Pointing out that it comes to Rs 80,000 per centre, he says, “It is just a new coat of paint for the old primary health centres, which are being renamed for the occasion.

Comments

TRENDING

Did Modi promote Dholavira, a UNESCO site now, as Gujarat CM? Facts don't tally

By Rajiv Shah  As would generally happen, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s tweet – that not only was he “absolutely delighted” with the news of UNESCO tag to Dholavira, but he “ first visited ” the site during his “student days and was mesmerised by the place” – is being doubted by his detractors. None of the two tweets, strangely, even recalls once that it’s a Harappan site in Gujarat.

How real is Mamata challenge to Modi? Preparing for 2024 'khela hobey' moment

By Prof Ujjwal K Chowdhury*  Third time elected West Bengal Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee is on a whirlwind tour of Delhi, meeting everyone who matters within and beyond the government, the Prime Minister, the President, some Cabinet ministers, Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, several other opposition leaders, et al.

Labelling a Jesuit a Marxist? It's like saying if you use a plane, you become American

Jesuits: Cedric Prakash, Stan Swamy By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ* A thirteen- fourteen-year-old has many dreams! That's an impressionable age; at the cusp of finishing school. It is also a time when one tastes a different kind of freedom: to go for camps with boys of your own age (not with ones family). Such camps and outings were always enjoyed to the hilt. The ones, however, which still remain etched in my memory are the mission camps to the Jesuit missions in Maharashtra and Gujarat.

Giant conglomerates 'favoured': Whither tribal rights for jal-jungle-jameen?

Prafull Samantara By Mohammad Irshad Ansari*  The struggle for “Jal, Jungle and Jameen” has been a long-drawn battle for the tribal communities of India. This tussle was once again in the limelight with the proposed diamond mining in the Buxwaha forest of Chhatarpur (Madhya Pradesh). The only difference in this movement was the massive social media support it gained, which actually seems to tilt the scale for the tribal people in a long time.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

If not Modi, then who? Why? I (an ordinary citizen) am there! Main hoon naa!

By Mansee Bal Bhargava*  The number of women ministers is doubled in early July from the first term after cabinet reshuffle by the present government led by Narendra Modi. While there were 06 women ministers in the previous term, this term there are 11. The previous two governments led by Dr Manmohan Singh had 10 women ministers in each tenure. Are these number of women ministers something to rejoice in the near 75 years of independence? Yes maybe, if we think that things are slowly improving in the patriarchal system. This change is less likely to achieve gender balance in the parliament otherwise we require more than 11 as per the 33% reservation . This change is also less likely because the men politicians’ inability to handle the country’s mess is becoming more and more evident and especially during the corona crisis. Seems, the addition of more women ministers may be a result of the recent assembly elections where women played a decisive role in the election results. For example

UP arrest of 'terrorists': Diverting attention from Covid goof-up, Ram temple land scam?

By Advocate Mohammad Shoaib, Sandeep Pandey* That corruption is rampant in police department is a common experience. However, there is another form of corruption which devastates lives of individuals and their families. It has now emerged as a common phenomenon that police more often than not register false cases because of which individuals have to spend number of years in jail.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Effluent discharge into deep sea? Modi told to 'reconsider' Rs 2275 crore Gujarat project

Counterview Desk  In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, well-known Gujarat-based environmentalist, Mahesh Pandya of the Paryavaran Mitra, has protested against the manner in with the Gujarat government is continuing with its deep sea effluent disposal project despite environmental concerns.

Gujarat govt gender insensitive? Cyclone package for fisherfolk 'ignores' poor women

By Our Representative A memorandum submitted to the Gujarat government by various fisherfolk associations of the Saurashtra region of Gujarat under the leadership of Ahmedabad NGO Centre for Social Justice's senior activist Arvind Khuman, who is based in Amreli, has suggested that the relief package offered to the fishermen affected by the Tauktae cyclone is not only inadequate, it is also gender insensitive.