HEALTH INSURANCE PROGRAMME
- Voice Of The People
Oct 13, 2017-The Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) made a welcome move a few months ago regarding universal health coverage. This bill has now been endorsed by Parliament, opening the door for the government to implement this policy throughout the country (‘House nod to landmark bill to ensure universal care’, October 11, Page 1). MoHP had started this programme as a pilot project in a few districts and the response have been positive. This new law will come into force once the President authorises it.
This is an important step towards ensuring health care services for all citizens as envisioned by the new constitution. The whole idea of this programme is to ensure that all citizens have access to preventive, curative and rehabilitative health services. According to this programme, a household of five has to pay an annual premium of Rs2,500 to get services worth up to Rs50,000. For each additional member Rs425 has to be paid for receiving health services worth up to Rs10,000. This premium will be levied depending upon the salary level of each family. If any family is unable to pay the premium, the government will pay for it.
However, the government has a long way to go for the effective implementation of a local health delivery system. Each health service outlet established at the village council level lacks proper infrastructure, trained health personnel and adequate medicine. Unless these things are properly taken care of by the government, the concept of a universal health care programme may not be effective in giving
decent health delivery services to the people.
- Rai Biren Bangdel,
While Nepali politics has indeed degenerated into “blatant rent-seeking” and is now renowned for its “absolute absence of any agenda of a political nature”, much more than mere introspection by the involved entities would be needed (‘Unhealthy alliances’, October 9, Page 6). The fact of the matter is that Nepal remains predominantly rural, and socially and economically stratified. Feudal elites have inscriptively presided over the communities and engaged in extraction of resources from all around without accountability. The very same elites go on to lead the various political parties and local elected bodies, and have indulged in the misappropriation of development funds for decades. For this reason, corrupt criminal involvement seems to be necessary to become a successful politician. However, when we have been able to empower the people concerned to manage their own affairs, miracles have happened. Miracles include the accelerated restoration of Nepal’s forest, and catapulting Nepal to one of the topmost performers in the attainment of Millennium Development Goals. So, in order to make democracy work for the people, it has to be fundamentally redefined and restructured along those lines.
- Bihari Krishna Shrestha,
With regard to the recent unification of all leftist forces under the CPN-UML banner for the upcoming elections, NC President cum PM Sher Bahadur Deuba and General Secretary Dr Shashanka Koirala are left with no option but to prove that NC is still the guardian of all democratic, nationalist and politically alienated forces since the historic Jan Andolan of 1990 (‘CPN-UML, Maoist Centre, Naya Shakti announce electoral alliance, agree to unify’, October 3, TKP Online). Nepal’s march to democratic stability, economic prosperity and growth must progress hand in hand with the new twist in events where politics seems heavily influenced by regional power players. Political equilibrium in Nepal is healthy as long as the Nepali people feel that it has a positive impact on their daily lives and the country’s development plans remain unhindered in true democratic fashion.
- Surya B Prasai,
Published: 13-10-2017 07:53