NHPM: Will World’s Largest Health Insurance Scheme Deliver?

National Health Protection Mission (NHPM) aims to provide health coverage to a 100 million, sounding it to be the world’s largest health cover scheme. It is no surprise as with 1.3 billion anything that India does, becomes the world’s largest. A big question is, as India mostly fails in delivery, will it fail this time too?

NHPM: Will World’s Largest Health Insurance Scheme Deliver

As of now, the Central Government is looking more concerned and active in health and fitness matters. A few months ago, Bharatiya Janata Party’s Delhi President Manoj Tiwari took a fitness challenge and uploaded a video in tweeter while exercising. Recently, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi shared his fitness video in a tweet with the hashtag #ViratKohli and the video goes viral in social media. Like fitness, Government seems active on healthcare too. In the Union Budget 2018, the government introduced a major scheme – National Health Protection Mission (NHPM). In order to reach the medical service to every class of the family especially the downtrodden, the government will spend Rs. 5 lakh annually for the treatment of 100 million poor Indian families. This scheme is being considered world’s largest as nearly 40 percent of the population can benefit from it. The plan sounds good but how much benefits will be given to the needy people, only time will tell.

In India, there is no shortage of such big schemes, this kind of health insurance schemes were announced earlier by the Congress government also but did not succeed much as planned. In a Digital era, this current scheme is completely cashless and there will be no obligation of age for insurance cover. The 1.5 lakh health centers will open across the country for this scheme. The Modi government has great expectations from this plan for the 2019 elections. The plan will cost Rs 10,500 crore for the next two years and is likely to be launched on either August 15 or October 2, said official sources. This expenditure will be shared by both the Central and State governments. The State government will raise 60 percent of the cost and 40 percent of the expenditure by the central government. This scheme is being addressed in the name of ‘ModiCare’. 

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The goal of NHPM is to provide health insurance to more than 100 million poor and weaker families with the premium paid by the government. In February, the Finance Ministry had initially announced the expenditure of Rs 2,000 crore. Eight states and four union territories have already signed MoU for health mission, including Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand and Chandigarh.

Need to spread awareness about the scheme at the grassroots level

The Government’s plan towards medical service is quite good and positive. The biggest challenge is to reach out to people in every corner of the country. Even the US launched Obama Care, but couldn’t be seen as successful in a superpower like the US. Prior to implementing such a plan, it is important that awareness of this scheme is spread among the poor. The awareness campaign should go beyond digital. There is a big disparity between rich and poor. Today, most of the schemes take the help of the digital medium to tell about the plans which leave the population of those who are out of the digital world.

Previous health Plan ‘PMSSY’ is not reaching to the Poor

The ‘Prime Minister’s Health Security Scheme’ (PMSSY) was approved in 2006, with the aim of reducing the discrepancies in the availability of cheap/world-class healthcare services in different parts of the country. But the benefit of this scheme has not been reaching to the needy. Failure of government schemes in India is quite common.

Will Modi Government get political advantage from this scheme?

This may also affect the country politically. With this budget, the BJP has again increased its electoral challenge. BJP Government has had problems with GST and demonetization.

In terms of education, medical and housing, India are still far behind many other developing and advanced countries. Even today, the country’s public education system is in bad shape. Medical services are becoming expensive and there is no housing for the remaining half of the poor population. The ruling government has big plans like ‘Make in India,’ ‘Digital India,’ ‘Swacch Bharat’ but nothing substantial has been achieved. The government is making big plans without meeting the basic needs, the basic needs of the poor are not being met and due to this half the population cannot get the benefit of these schemes. The Government’s National Health Protection Mission plan is good but what will it actually achieve? – Only time will decide!