As we have seen in Part 1 and Part 2, the proposed National Health Protection Scheme which promises Rs 5 lakh insurance to 10 crore Indian families is basically a cash transfer scheme from tax payers to the poor via the government so that the BJP can reap direct electoral benefits. Its massive costs will only become apparent in the years to come but by then the Lok Sabha elections will have been done and dusted.
So, how does one achieve the same end goal of healthy Indians?
The first thing to recognise is that India’s governments have failed to provide not just healthcare but also education at a mass scale to the citizens. The result has been that families are increasingly sending their children to private schools and getting medical treatment at private hospitals. People are doing what they can, and what is best for them and their families.
It is this same principle that can help in healthcare and other areas. Instead of a diktat from the top on where a kid should get educated or a person should get treated, what needs to be done is that every Indian family should be returned their share of the public wealth of the nation, and they should be allowed to decide what is best for them. This is explained in the Nayi Disha manifesto.
Rs 1 lakh should be returned every year to every family by bringing into production the idle assets in the country and cutting government waste. Every family should have the freedom to prioritise their spending. They should be encouraged to buy medical insurance from private insurers and pay for it. This way, they know the consequences of their decisions also – if they misuse the health facilities then their insurance costs will likely rise in the following year.
Where there is demand, there will be supply. It is possible that some unscrupulous elements may also try and benefit, but the market has a great way of self-correction through the pricing mechanism which responds to good behaviour. Corporations that don’t serve the interests of the public suffer losses and go out of business.
The government needs to stop the command and control decision-making from Lutyens Delhi. It needs to think of its citizens as actors in the marketplace rather than infants whom they remotely parent.