#DecodingBudget: Jaitley announces Modicare, world's biggest government-funded scheme
In one of the biggest budget announcements, FM Arun Jaitley unveiled a new National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS). This will provide coverage of up to Rs. 5L per family/per year for secondary and tertiary health care. This flagship scheme will benefit over 10cr poor and vulnerable families, that is, about 50cr beneficiaries. As world's largest government-funded scheme, it is colloquially being called Modicare.
Jaitley announces "Ayushman Bharat" focusing on prevention and health promotion
NHPS is a major initiative under "Ayushman Bharat." The programme also includes the Rs. 1,200cr National Health Policy, 2017, within which government will set up 1.5L Health and Wellness centres. These centres will provide free diagnostic services and essential drugs for non-communicable diseases, along with maternal and child health services. It will also generate jobs and help India realize the goal of Universal Health Coverage.
Modi's government also promises to increase health insurance cover
Modicare may be an extension of 'Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana', providing Rs. 30,000/year to poor families. Jaitley also promised to increase 'Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Beema Yojana' (PMJJBY) and 'Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana' (PMSBY) coverage. PMJJBY provides life insurance cover of Rs. 2L at a premium of Rs. 330/year. PMSBY gives a Rs. 2L personal accident cover at a premium of Rs. 12/year.
Jaitley also announced proposals for increasing accessibility of medical education
Considering the abysmal patient-to-doctor ratio, Jaitley announced setting up of 24 new government medical colleges-cum-hospitals by upgrading existing district hospitals. Thus, there will be one medical college for every three parliamentary constituencies and at least one government medical college in each state.
Are Obamacare and Modicare comparable?
Obamacare is a set of health insurance and industry reforms passed during former US President Barack Obama's term in 2010. It expanded Medicaid, a public insurance program covering low-income Americans, and the way doctors were paid. Modicare covers insurance but doesn't affect doctors/hospitals. Obamacare ordered restaurants to provide calorie-listings; Modicare doesn't have this provision. But, while Obamacare covered 2.5cr people, Modicare covers 50cr people.