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GS-III : S&T

Analysis of Public Health Act

  • 23 December, 2020

  • 8 Min Read

Analysis of Public Health Act

Context: CoVID and Public Health Act is a highly important topic for all the 3 stages of UPSC Examination i.e. Prelims, Mains and Interview. It is also important for Essay writing.

  • The Public Health Act was suggested by the report of the parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs. It was done as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • National Health Profile 2019 data showed that there were an estimated 0.55 government hospital beds for 1,000 people.
  • Prolonged underinvestment in public health infrastructure thus left millions seeking help from a highly commercialized private sector with little regulatory oversight.
  • In the rural areas, the care facilities are even weaker and even the urban people migrated in rural areas. Hence the situation was even worse.
  • Considering all these distortions, the panel has called for an omnibus law that will curb profiteering during such crises and provide robust cashless health insurance.
  • India has committed itself to covenants like the SDGs, but continues to evade making the right to health a full legal and justiciable right under the National Health Policy.
  • The Committee observed the absence of insurance cover for many and oversight on hospitals.
  • While the panel is right to view this as a breach of trust, one of the pandemic’s impacts has been a staggering rise in premiums, especially for senior citizens, of even up to 25% of the insured value.

Way Forward

  • Legal reform must provide for a time­bound transition to universal state­provided health services under a rights­based, non­exclusionary framework, with States implementing it.
  • Private arrangements can be an option. COVID­19 has exposed the dangers of excessive reliance on private tertiary care.
  • The corrective lies in raising public spending to the promised 2.5% of GDP on public facilities that are universally accessible.

For more COVID and Public Health Act related Articles: Click the below

1. Coronavirus explained 

2. Healthcare analysis in India

3. House panel moots law to keep a check on private hospitals

Source: TH

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