"The NHPS comes embedded with an opportunity to fix the broken health care system. Aimed at front-loading affordability to deliver access to health care, it can be leveraged to drive investments to fashion a viable model for backward and forward linkages.
There is the issue of funds – India spends less on health than all its BRICS peers and even smaller economies.
But more vitally there is the issue of imagination. Every union health minister in three decades has taken refuge — for the flailing health care system — behind the fact that health is a state subject. Why not leave it to the states? Imagine the central government as the incubator of many startups, providing seed capital through a national health mission – a common platform that empowers states to create and share best practices.
Why not allow states to design their own public-private partnership (PPP) models? They could provide land and use the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme to build physical infrastructure and source setting up of health resource centres and treatment to philanthropic, not-for-profit and private bodies. There is also the induction of data analytics and telemedicine technology. Why not ask Members of Parliament and Legislative Assemblies to assign 25 percent of their area development funds for setting up health centres? How about setting up the 1.5 lakh new wellness and health centres in PPP mode? Why not induct hospitals known for innovative and frugal systems to create a template?
Health care is not just about what is in the health policy but what is lacking in public policy. Critical for success is the integration of policies to deliver outcomes – in the delivery of potable water, in sanitation, in urbanisation, in the management of waste and pollution et al.
For decades India’s public policy initiatives have focussed on the consequences – leaving the cause for another day. For ‘Bharat’ to be ‘Ayushman’ it is necessary to invert this paradigm and begin addressing the cause."
Read the whole article here.