Friday, October 23, 2009

Arogyasri is not a cure-all: Lok Satta

“The State Government is focusing its attention on extending Arogyasri coverage to all the people without realizing that Arogyasri has not guaranteed health to even to those who are covered by it, charged the Lok Satta Party here today. Arogyasri is not a cure-all.

“Thousands of people all over the State falling victim of diseases like malaria and dengue are today forced to incur huge expenditure by incurring debts on treatment in private, corporate hospitals as Arogyasri covered only certain diseases and not all.”

Talking to the media, party spokespersons V. Laxman Balaji and Mrs. K. Gita Murthy said a solution to the health crisis in the State lay in taking preventive measures and strengthening primary and secondary care. Instead, Arogyasri aimed at providing tertiary super specialty care to a microscopic section of the State’s population.

The leaders quoted the National Sample Survey to point out that 1,10,000 people who needed some medical care or the other every day in Andhra Pradesh chose to go without treatment. Another 17,500 people visited hospitals both in the private and public sector and a majority of them met the expenditure on treatment out of their pocket. The Government washed its hands of providing health care by ensuring that a few hundred people underwent surgeries mostly in private hospitals every day. The Arogyasri scheme had merely enriched a few private hospitals but not ensured health even to cardholders and their families.

As of today, the Lok Satta leaders said, 85 percent of the people are eligible to avail of benefits under Arogyasri. Extension of coverage to the remainder of 15 percent of people would not be a big deal.

“The need of the hour is a comprehensive health care policy which ensures quality and free health care to all the people.” The Government should have constituted a committee of health care experts to evolve such a policy, instead of a committee of Ministers to consider extension of Arogyasri even to pink card holders.

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