In February 2018, the Modi government introduced ‘Modicare‘ to the general public of India, which is reportedly the ‘world’s largest government funded healthcare program’. This plan is supposed to affect 500 million people who belong to the financially vulnerable population. The families ‘below poverty line’ (BPL) will be able to avail modern medical facilities, critical care and other tertiary care treatments through private as well as government hospitals. Most of the hospitals that enrolled under this scheme are private and it is speculated that this step is supposed to be a great achievement for the economy of India.
Modicare will support more than 100 million economically backward people of India and may also seem like a clever political move that will help the Modi government gain the support of the economically lower strata of our society. Officially known as The National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS), this scheme is fully supported by the government which means that no premium is to be paid by the beneficiaries. The money for the allocation of the Rs 10,000 crore will be retreived from the collections made under the “health and education tax” which currently stands at four percent of the personal income and corporation tax.
The government has decided to use a cost bearing ratio of 40:60 between the state and the central government respectively. However, the scheme was not launched in all the states at once. Initially, it was launched in 6 states that include Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, West Bengal and Manipur.
While it is a highly ambitious project, the problems related to the same cannot be overseen. The government’s superficial estimate of Rs 5 lakh of insurance to every family below-poverty-line compels the insurance companies to conclude that the government will soon run out of budget as they have highly underestimated the cost of many medical facilities.
The biggest problem with this scheme is the infrastructure and the network required to efficiently implement and run it. Even if the beneficiaries are provided access to money, rural India still lacks proper medical infrastructure. Additionally, the people who are supposed to benefit from this scheme are unaware of this scheme due. Linking this scheme exclusively with AADHAAR has complicated matters further.
Modicare is surely the biggest healthcare program globally in terms of the number of beneficiaries it aspires to support, however, several loopholes in the system might create problems in implementating the same. While the opposition has listed this as a campaign to gain votes, Modicare has only been implemented for 100 days in some states and only time will tell whether the central government has prioritized the succesfull implementation of the same.