On 12th February 2012, Mr. K. Srinath Reddy, president of the Public Health Foundation of India and also a public health expert, spoke on the possibility of universal health coverage in India by 2022, at a lecture at Emory University School of Law.
Allowing people access to public information under the Right to Information Act and providing subsidized food to 60% of the population under the proposed National Food Security Bill, Mr. Reddy said that it is in this climate of egalitarianism that he argued for more equality in health care.
AdvertisementDue to the high rates of infant mortality, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, an improved system of health care in India was necessary. 42% of children under the age of 5 were underweight in the country. 28% of rural people and 20% of urban people who have no funding for health care and 40% of people who are hospitalized sell their assets to pay for medical expenses.
Mr. Reddy denounced programs that are meant exclusively for the impoverished like the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY), a government-run health insurance scheme for the poor, which he said was ineffective and financially unsustainable and could not accommodate the entire population.
Mr. Reddy's vision was that the government would be the "guarantor and enabler" of health care and not just the provider. His recommendations were to increase public spending on health care, place price controls on drugs and increase the number of medical colleges in under-served areas.
Private insurance companies would soon be fazed out and he suggested that private insurers adjust to the new climate by offering benefits that are not provided by the government.