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

Rushdie, Pamuk, 260 writers tell Modi: Aatish episode casts chill on public discourse

Counterview Desk
As many as 260 writers, journalists, artists, academics and activists across the world, including Salman Rushdie, British Indian novelist, Orhan Pamuk, Turkish novelist and recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize in literature, and Margaret Atwood, Canadian poet and novelist, have called upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi to review the decision to strip British Indian writer Aatish Taseer of his overseas Indian citizenship.

Church in India 'seems to have lost' moral compass of unequivocal support to the poor

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*
In 2017, Pope Francis dedicated a special day, to be observed by the Universal Church, every year, as the ‘World Day of the Poor’. This year it will be observed on November 17 on the theme ‘The hope of the poor shall not perish for ever’; in a message for the day Pope Francis says:

There may have been Buddhist stupa at Babri site during Gupta period: Archeologist

By Rajiv Shah
A top-notch archeologist, Prof Supriya Varma, who served as an observer during the excavation of the Babri Masjid site in early 2000s along with another archeologist, Jaya Menon, has controversially stated that not only was there "no temple under the Babri Masjid”, if one goes “beyond” the 12th century to 4th to 6th century, i.e. the Gupta period, “there seems to be a Buddhist stupa.”

VHP doesn't represent all Hindus, Sunni Waqf Board all Muslims: NAPM on SC ruling

Counterview Desk
India's top civil rights network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), even as describing the Supreme Court's Ayodhya judgement unjust, has said, it is an "assault on the secular fabric of the Constitution". In a statement signed by top social workers and activists, NAPM said, "The judgement conveys an impression to Muslims that, despite being equal citizens of the country, their rights are not equal before the law."

'First time' since 1970s poverty up 10%, consumer spending down 4%: GoI survey

By Our Representative
In what may prove to be a major embarrassment for the Government of India (GoI), a new official survey, carried out in 207-18, has reportedly said that average consumer spending in India fell by more than 4% the previous six years "primarily driven by slackening rural demand." The survey, "Key Indicators: Household Consumer Expenditure in India”, carried out by the National Statistical Office (NSO), says that money spent per person in a month fell by 3.7% from Rs 1,501 in 2011-12 to Rs 1,446 in 2017-18.

As fear 'grips' right liberals, Arvind Panagariya, too, would be declared anti-national?

By Rajiv Shah
It is surely well-known by now that India's top people in the power-that-be have been castigating all those who disagree with them as "anti-nationals". Nothing unusual. If till yesterday only "secular liberals", and "left-liberals" were declared anti-national, facts, however, appear to have begun surfacing that, now, guns are being trained against those who could be qualified as right liberals, too. Let me be specific.

National award winning film 'Hellaro' co-produced by three chartered accountants

By Our Representative
“Hellaro”, a Gujarati feature film produced by Saarthi Productions in association with Harfanmaula Films (Ahmedabad) was declared as the Best Feature Film at the National Film Awards which was conferred by the Government of India. The film also won the Special Jury Award for the Best Actress to all the 13 actresses of the film.
Ashish Patel produced the movie, which has been co-produced three co-producers, Aayush Patel, Prateek Gupta and Mit Jani, all of whom, interestingly, started their filmmaking journey after becoming Chartered Accountants in 2012.
“Hellaro” is directed by Abhishek Shah, who has been working in Gujarati theatre since the past 17 years as writer, director and actor and has received numerous awards for his plays. He has also worked as a casting director for 12 films.
“Hellaro” is a period drama based in Kutch and has been co-written by Abhishek Shah and Prateek Gupta. Gupta previously received the Best Debut Director Award, along with Mit Jan…