Karnataka model for Niti health plan

The National Health Authority will study the Karnataka model.

The Centre’s policy think-tank Niti Aayog plans to build a healthcare system for the middle class based on the Karnataka model, which has not only delivered to the poor but also the above poverty line (APL) population. It has also asked the National Health Authority to study the state’s model.

“The Karnataka case study provides great insight and a very good model for thinking about the new national health agency and state health agency structure under the PM-JAY reforms announced recently,” the Aayog said in its report “Health System for New India: Building Blocks”.

At a time when many parts of the country still lag in providing health care to the poor, Karnataka started planning for health schemes for APL category way back in 2013. In 2015, the Rajiv Arogya Bhagya was formally launched for APL populations. A year later, the scheme was extended to families of farmers.

It gave credit to the state's “Suvarna Arogya Suraksha Trust” (SAST) health care reforms, which is looking to bring all schemes under a single-payer umbrella over the next decade and said India needed to effectively source, pool and purchase health services the way Karnataka has done around a decade ago.

Launching the report, Niti Aayog Adviser (Health) Alok Kumar said the report intends to prepare the road-map to build a health system in the medium- to long-term for those belonging to the middle class as the poor have been taken care of now through Ayushman Bharat.

He said nearly 50% belonging to middle class are still not covered under any public healthcare system and the idea is to pool their risk assets which will cater to the health care needs of the middle class.

The SAST reforms have been able to bring 64% reduction in mortality rates, 6.74% lower infection rates and 64% reduction in out-of-pocket payments for long term hospitalisation.

The average rate of stay in Karnataka has reduced significantly for public and private hospitals from 8.9 and 9 days in 2004 to 5.6 and 6 days in 2014.

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