The Union Budget for financial year 2018-19, which was tabled by the Finance Ministry on February 1 was presented as a mega healthcare projected with a plan of spending Rs 10,000 crore annually and provide quality healthcare to 500 million people in the country. The project which is dubbed as ‘Modicare’, an inspiration from former US President Barack Obama’s ‘Obamacare’.

Modicare has drawn immediate comparisons with Obama’s Obamacare, for obvious nomenclature cloning, and a promise to provide affordable health coverage to people of their respective countries. When the Union Budget was tabled by Arun Jaitley, it was touted as world’s largest scheme in terms of its reachability and expenses. The National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS) dubbed the scheme as ‘Modicare’ with an objective to provide healthcare insurance to 100 million families with a ceiling of Rs 5 lakh per family. So basically, the healthcare scheme is expected to reach to 500 million people from financially vulnerable backgrounds – covering over 41% of India’s population. Demographically, 4 of 10 people will be able to access secondary and tertiary scheme in government as well as private hospitals.

All this sounds good, but it is important to know how exactly this scheme will benefit you or me as citizens of India. Modicare will cover up health insurance for providing financial assistance during secondary or tertiary medical treatments. Secondary healthcare services includes those provided by skilled medical practitioners, for outpatient treatment, or a brief stay at a hospital for serious illness. Whereas tertiary treatment counts in for patients who are required to stay in hospital for longer times and need special medical care – which means, treatment suffering from acute or terminal illnesses.

It must be noted that Modicare is specifically designed for people falling under the BPL (Below Poverty Line) category .To ensure that these benefits reach to people, a national health agency will be instituted and it will be responsible to ensure that healthcare scheme is implemented at state level. The main concern here is the expenses. The total cost under ‘Modicare’ to cover 10 crore households has been estimated at Rs 4,000 crore and the Centre has allocated Rs 2000 crore. For the remaining fund, the Centre looks down to the states to pitch in with the remaining Rs 2,000 crore. You get the picture, right?

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