There are also plans afoot to extend the scope of the Centre’s Rashtriya Swaasth Bhima Yojana

LDF extends free treatment for all deadly diseases coupled with increase in RSBY coverage
news #KeralaBudget2016 Friday, July 08, 2016 - 15:39

Kerala Finance Minister Dr. Thomas Isaac on Friday promised to extend free treatment for all deadly diseases under the LDF government’s Public Health Scheme in the state budget for the financial year 2016-17.

The list of fatal diseases included in the proposal are cancer, heart diseases, paralysis, liver and kidney ailments as well as brain tumours among others.

There are also plans afoot to extend the scope of the Centre’s Rashtriya Swaasth Bhima Yojana (RSBY) so as to include more people under its umbrella coverage. RSBY beneficiaries are usually Below Poverty Line (BPL) families who are included in the district BPL list prepared by the respective state governments.

As part of this, all workers who come under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) 2005 will now -under the LDF regime- automatically become eligible for free RSBY coverage.

A Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme too is on the anvil.

Hailing the budget proposals for the state health sector as a positive move in the right direction, the president of the Kerala branch of the Indian Medical Association (IMA), Dr. Jayakrishnan AV, shared his views on the subject with The News Minute.

“In the present health scenario in the state, RSBY and Karunya offer fragmented options to the general public. So having a Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme is definitely welcome,” Jayakrishanan says.

He also feels that it it high time that the state government addressed the major problem for increased out-of-pocket medical expenditure incurred by the masses: “Right now, the public spend close to 70-80% from their own pockets to meet the rising cost of medical help available to them, whereas world-wide, it is around 40% in developing countries and just 10% in developed countries. Dr. Isaac’s proposal to increase the participation of the Public Health Sector in curtailing the cost incurred by the common man is hence something to look forward to.”

Another budget proposal that Jayakrishnan believes will strengthen the primary health care available is the decision to start manufacturing units for quality medicines at district levels, which in turn will go a long way in decreasing the cost of medicines now available in the market at exorbitant rates.