Providing healthcare to half a billion Indians will not be possible
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plan to provide health insurance to half a billion Indians -- a mass of people larger than the entire population of South America -- before he seeks a fresh mandate next year is already facing serious hurdles.
The total cost of the program hasn’t yet been calculated, but the promise is to provide poor families up to 500,000 rupees ($7,250) in annual cover. An earlier federal health insurance scheme had managed to cover just 61 percent of those eligible after 10 years of operation, government data show. "It will not be possible for healthcare providers to respond to such a huge expansion of coverage without substantial investment in medical facilities and manpower," says Owen O’Donnell, Professor of Health Economics at Erasmus School of Economics. "Without that, the extension of coverage risks being nominal rather than real."