Recognising the importance of defining a comprehensive strategy for universal health coverage, the Planning Commission has set up a high level expert group to develop a blueprint and investment plan for meeting the human resource requirements to achieve ‘health for all' by 2020.
The 15-member high level group on universal health coverage, chaired by K. Srinath Reddy, president of the Public Health Foundation of India, is mandated to rework the physical and financial norms needed to ensure quality, universal reach and access to healthcare services, particularly in underserved areas and to indicate the role of private and public service providers.
“The expert group, constituted with the approval of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, will also explore the role of a health insurance system that offers universal access to health services with high subsidy for the poor and a scope for building up additional levels of protection on a payment basis,” Syeda Hamid, a member of the Planning Commission, told The Hindu.
The expert group will suggest critical management reforms in order to improve efficiency, effectiveness and accountability of the health delivery system, among other things.
The other members of the expert group are: Abhay Bhang (Society for Education, Action and Research in Community Health), A.K. Shiva Kumar (member, National Advisory Council), Amarjeet Sinha (senior IAS officer), Anu Garg (Principal Secretary-cum-Commissioner (Health and Family Welfare department, Orissa), Gita Sen (Centre for Public Policy, IIM Bangalore), G.N. Rao (Chair of Eye Health, L.V. Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad), Jashodhara Dasgupta (SAHYOG, Lucknow), Leila Caleb Varkey (Public Health researcher), Govinda Rao (Director, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy), Mirai Chatterjee (Director, Social Security, SEWA), Nachiket Mor (Sughavazhu Healthcare), Vinod Paul (AIIMS), Yogesh Jain (Jan Swasthya Sahyog, Bilaspur), a representative of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and N.K. Sethi (Advisor (Health), Planning Commission).
This can be the best thing to happen to India, if done properly. Indian people who have been exploited for so long need a strong health incentive from government. We to stand in the international arena need to be a country who takes care of its citizens. We do not want to be ashamed of poverty, sickness and shabby streets.
Universal health care provided by the government with a small market for private sector is good for the citizens. It is better not to encourage the private sector to take a big chunk of this sector. Facilities that are beyond the common man can be left to the private sector otherwise the same story that happened in the United states will repeat itself in India. For profit business is not the best for health sector. Government is a better agent since it is not looking for profits all the time or to show its profits as quarterly reports.
Almost 90 years back, Americans got this universal health care and social security benefits from the government. According to the projections, this will happen in India in 2020. Our country needs it desperately. Its already too late. Along with health insurance and benefits, the government should take care of unemployment and social security for retirement to finish off the deal.
Go India! this is the best thing that can happen to India in the next decade.