Opinion| Health is wealth: How Congress’ promise of ₹25L cashless insurance will ensure affordable healthcare

Health presents a challenge for all nations; in a study by the Pew Research Center, a median of 85% of respondents believe it was a problem in their country

By Newsmeter Network  Published on  1 Jun 2024 6:51 AM GMT
Opinion| Health is wealth: How Congress’ promise of ₹25L cashless insurance will ensure affordable healthcare

Hyderabad: An efficient healthcare system can contribute to a significant part of a country's economy, development, and industrialization. Health care is an important determinant in promoting the general physical and mental health and well-being of people around the world.

There’s a well-understood correlation that improving the health of a nation’s citizens can directly result in economic growth because there will be more people able to conduct effective activities in the workforce. Health presents a challenge for all nations; in a study by the Pew Research Center, a median of 85% of respondents believe it was a problem in their country.

Effective public health systems are essential for providing care for the sick, and for instituting measures that promote wellness and prevent disease.

If the quality of human capital degrades, physical capital and natural resources cannot be properly utilized leading to devoid of growth, not sustainable or qualitative. According to WHO, “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”.

Health status is typically assessed using various factors, including life expectancy at birth, infant mortality rate, fertility rate, crude birth rate, and crude death rate. These indicators reflect the overall well-being of a population. They are influenced by factors such as income, nutrition, housing, access to clean water, healthcare services, and the local climate.

India is one of the major countries where diseases are still not under control. India's healthcare sector, however, falls well below international benchmarks for physical infrastructure and manpower and even falls below the standards existing in comparable developing countries.

The Indian healthcare system is faced with several challenges, including increased healthcare costs, the need for nursing and long-term care for senior citizens due to the rise of the nuclear family system, the high financial burden on the poor, the increasing burden of new diseases, and negligence of public health functions due to inadequate funding for the healthcare sector.

India’s healthcare delivery system is categorized into two major components - public and private.

The government (public healthcare system), comprises limited secondary and tertiary care institutions in key cities and focuses on providing basic healthcare facilities in the form of Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) in rural areas.

The private sector plays a significant role in providing healthcare services, especially in big cities and urban areas. However, the current BJP government’s approach to investing in public health and building a robust healthcare system has been lackluster. Over the past decade, there has been little prioritization of healthcare, which became evident during the COVID-19 pandemic’s second wave.

Challenges include limited access to basic healthcare services due to shortages of medical professionals, inadequate quality assurance, insufficient healthcare spending, and a lack of research funding. One major concern is the government’s inadequate financial allocation for healthcare

India’s public expenditure on healthcare is only 2.1% of GDP in 2021-22 while Japan, Canada, and France spend about 10% of their GDP on public healthcare. Even neighboring countries like Bangladesh and Pakistan have over 3% of their GDP going towards the public healthcare system.

Policymaking is undoubtedly crucial in providing effective and efficient healthcare services. In India, the problem lies more with the availability of healthcare resources (supply) rather than the need for healthcare services (demand). There is a shortage of hospitals, doctors, nurses, and other essential healthcare facilities.

Right, policymaking can play a significant role in addressing this supply-demand gap by allocating resources strategically, incentivizing healthcare providers, improving infrastructure, and making healthcare affordable and accessible for everyone irrespective of the urban-rural divide.

Congress was the first political party to acknowledge that the health of the people and healthcare is the responsibility of the government. Congress introduced the first healthcare scheme in India and firmly believes that all citizens have the Right to Health. We promise that healthcare will be universal and free in public health centers such as hospitals, clinics, primary health centers, mobile healthcare units, dispensaries, and health camps. Free healthcare will include examination, diagnostics, treatment, surgery, medicines, rehabilitation, and palliative care.

Rajasthan Model of cashless insurance up to Rs 25 lakh will be adopted for universal healthcare. If we come into power at the center, we have a comprehensive plan detailing how we will enhance India’s healthcare ecosystem. Our manifesto outlines our vision and unwavering commitment to provide improved, accessible, and affordable healthcare for all citizens of our nation.


The writer is Irfan Aziz, All India Professional Congress, president of Secunderabad Chapter& Congress Manifesto Head from Telangana. The views and opinions expressed in the article are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of NewsMeter.

Next Story