Health care is one of the biggest factors that determine the development of a country. While first world countries are way ahead when it comes to providing health care and insurances to its citizens, the third world countries fall back, especially when it comes to health care.
And when Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi announced his health care plans back in February, people had mixed feelings.
And as of 23 September 2018, Modi’s brand new health care scheme came into implementation in India.
Ayushman Bharat which is dubbed as “Modicare” by the local Indian media according to PM Modi is the biggest healthcare plan that too set out by an Asian country.
It is the world’s biggest government-funded health scheme that will insure 50 crore people (500 million) which is half of the current population of the country which is 1.324 billion.
The healthcare scheme has been targeted to cater towards the country’s poorest citizens i.e. 40 percent of the whole population.
“Modicare” is set to give families in need an insurance of up to $6950 (Rs. 500,000). And by 2020, Modi government plans to open 150,000 health and wellness centers equipped with sufficient nurses, traditional medicine healers, and health workers.
Ayushman Bharat is very highly dependent on private hospitals and health institutions and their partnerships. And along with the normal health services, the government is impelling to encourage the traditional ideas of holistic healthcare, for example, including yoga and meditation into the daily lives of people.
Similarly, all the government hospitals and health care centers will be receiving additional payments for every “Modicare” patient they treat.
PM Narendra Modi personally handed out medical cards out to the public at the launch in Ranchi, the capital city of the Indian state of Jharkhand.
How much will “Modicare” cost?
Well, there isn’t an exact figure as to how much with the Ayushman Bharat or the “Modicare” is going to cost the government, but the scheme is set to cost the central as well as the 29 states government an estimated $1.6 Billion (Rs. 100bn) per year.
The funding, however, will be increased according to the demand and necessity.
Reasons “Modicare” or Ayushman Bharat Might Fail.
India has been coming out into the world as one of the economically strongest countries lately and to announce a healthcare scheme as big as the Ayushman Bharat is definitely a big deal, especially in South Asia.
While there are millions of people who believe in Modi and support his almost unreal plan. There are plenty of people who know for sure that this is nothing but a scam and if not implemented properly will go down in flames.
The first problem with the Ayushman Bharat is that not every person in the country is aware of the healthcare plan. And even if people know, they’re not sure how it works exactly.
Another reason is the condition of the government hospitals and healthcare centers. Something that hasn’t been looked after for years, the government plans on running these facilities smoothly in a matter of days, an impossible task to take on to.
Most of these government-funded facilities neither have the proper equipment nor have a sufficient number of staffs. And due to this reason, the patients in these government hospitals and health care centers do not get proper check-up and attention that they require.
$1.6 billion might seem like a lot of money but when it comes to handling something as big as the health care of a country with a population of 1.34 billion, it’s a questionable act.
Even the Indian Medical Association has expressed concerns about the insufficient funds despite the government saying that they will raise it if it’s not enough.
Dr. RN Tandon, the general secretary of IMA that represents more than 250,000 doctors uses the example of a cesarean section to explain how it’s not going to work.
For a particular hospital, a procedure of a cesarean section (C-section) costs up to Rs. 16,000. And the government has decided to pay back Rs. 9000 to the hospital if they complete it under “Modicare”.
But according to Dr. Tandon, this is not possible. Though he believes that the scheme is a “game changer” he still thinks that it won’t be able to sustain for too long.
“These packages are not realistic,” Dr. Tandon says. “A small hospital can work for maybe a month or two months [at such rates], but it is not possible to sustain for more than that, so what will happen? They will have to close down.”
Whether Modi’s Ayushman Bharat or “Modicare” will be a success that will bring a sigh of relief amongst the poorest population of India or will it fail miserably, only time will tell.