Thursday, November 22, 2012

Now, Cong offers medical treats to voters

Gujarat EDN
TOI 29AUG2012

Promises Free Healthcare, Insurance

Ahmedabad: After affordable housing for the urban poor, Gujarat Congress on Tuesday made another poll assurance — free medical treatment for cancer as well as kidney and heart ailments for the poor and the middle income group, at government hospitals.
    The party announced that if voted to power, it would also provide 250 life-saving drugs for free, as well as a health insurance scheme. The party said if elected to power in the forthcoming assembly elections, its government would pay medical insurance premiums up to Rs 30,000.
    This is the fifth such announcement under the Congress’s ‘Gujarat Praja Vikas Darshan-2012’. The party earlier announced it would reduce Value added tax on petrol, diesel and CNG, provide affordable housing for women, give the rural homeless a 100 sq m plot for free and implement the sixth pay panel’s recommendations for government employees.
    Speaking to reporters, Gujarat Pradesh Congress president Arjun Modhwadia said, “Once elected to power, Congress will form a ‘Gujarat Medical Service Corporation (GMSC)’ to provide life-saving drugs for free. In Gujarat, drugs are 15 times more expensive than elsewhere. If medicines are bought in generic form, costs will drop significantly.”
    Congress leaders also promised to generic medicines stores at all government hospitals and dispensaries. Modhwadia added: “By this arrangement, standard quality medicines will be available and it will cut treatment expenditure by up to 70%. A survey by the National Sample Survey Organization revealed that purchase of generic medicines of the same quality as branded ones, would bring down prices of even life-saving drugs from Rs 3,187 to only Rs 255. We have tried this form of treatment with success in Rajasthan.”
    He said if the Congress comes to power in Gujarat,
about 250 essen- tial drugs, as suggested by the World Health Organization, would be made available free of cost.
    Modhwadia also said that the Congress will come up with an insurance scheme for the poor and middle income groups, where the person would be insured and the government would pay premiums up to Rs 30,000.
“Yoga, gymnasia and nature cures will be given priority. Alternative therapies like ayurveda, homeopathy and naturopathy will be strengthened. The Congress government will set up gymnasia in the state which would be free for all. Yoga and naturopathy experts will also visit these centres and schools to improve people’s lifestyles,” said Modhwadia.
At present, government hospitals store and test blood using old technology which causes poor and middle-class patients problems. The Congress promised to introduce world-class diagnostic test facilities for the people of Gujarat. Modhwadia also said that civil hospitals as well as public and primary health centres will be modernized and doctors and paramedical staff will be inducted with full-scale payment. “Gujarat’s per head health expenditure is Rs 270, while Mizoram spends Rs 1,611, Sikkim 1,466, Goa 1,149, HP 884, Assam 471, Kerala 454, Chhattisgarh 371, Jharkhand 328 and Uttar Pradesh 293. If elected to power, Congress will allocate a larger health budget, to match national standards in per-head health expenditure,” said Modhwadia.