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'Centre finalises universal health assurance programme'

Posted on Aug 27 2014 | IANS

New Delhi, Aug 27 : The central government is in the process of finalising the Universal Health Assurance (UHA) programme and it will be presented to the nation within the current financial year, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said Wednesday.

"The UHA is in the process of being finalised and will be presented to the nation within the current financial year," he said at the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)'s 8th Health Insurance Summit here.

Harsh Vardhan said India's health care sector was set for unprecedented growth as the Narendra Modi government's Universal Health Assurance programme will cause an explosion of demand by making medical treatment affordable for the millions who have been excluded for the past seven decades by prohibitive costs.

"I have set up committees comprising the best possible academic, administrative and technical experts on public health, institutional strengths and weaknesses and, above all, health insurance.

"Their interim reports are with me and I can disclose at this stage that the future indeed looks good," he said.

The health care sector of India is already growing at a about 15 percent since 2011 and is today worth about USD 80-85 billion.

"For instance, I am talking about 50 free essential drugs for all, which means demand on an unimaginable scale," the minister said.

Apart from free drugs, there will be government paid-up health insurance cover for the poor and competitive health insurance for all, the health minister said.

Harsh Vardhan said: "I believe that India's health sector will see the same revolution as the one witnessed in mobile telephony in the early 2000s."

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