Health insurance scheme for all, is likely to be rolled out in different phases by the end of this year. Health minister Harsh Vardhan said on Monday that the details on health facilities to be covered in the scheme have been discussed at the ministry level and also the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).
“The health insurance scheme, which will be a part of the Universal Health Assurance Scheme, will be the world’s largest public health insurance programme,” the minister said. He was briefing the media to list the achievement of his ministry in the first 100 days.
He said that the new insurance scheme would be free for those below the poverty line and the premium for others would also be low. “At present, Health Insurance touches about 25 percent of population. We will spread the population of the insured rapidly, resulting in sharp fall in premium rates and many consumer benefits,” the health minster added.
He said that an autonomous UHAM agency will be formed to ensure above-board operations and genuine protection of the insured.
The health ministry had set up an expert group to prepare the roadmap for the universal health mission, Harsh Vardhan said adding that the expert group submitted its report within eight weeks of its formation, which is right now under the consideration of the health ministry.
Asserting that his ministry was focussed on improving the health infrastructure in the country, the minister said that he was in favour of the decisions taken by the previous UPA government to introduce rural cadre of doctors who would serve at primary health centres.
“This scheme has not been shelved. If any state government wants to run this, they are free to do so,” he said. The health minister said that he was trying to prevail upon the state governments to persuade their doctors towards rational use of antibiotics. He said: “If good quality generic drugs are available, then they should be used.”
Harsh Vardhan also said that he was in favour of a single National Eligibility Test (NET) for medical entrance exams in the country. “Unfortunately this was rejected by the Supreme Court. We have filed a review petition and are monitoring it,” he added.
Three new bills to regulate health research and facilitate clinical practices in areas like surrogacy and new systems of medicine have been finalised, Vardhan said.
He said radical transformation is required in the functioning of regulatory bodies like the medical and the dental councils of India. He said: “We are studying and discussing their structure. There will be radical change and transformation in their structure.”