ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Assessing Private Health Insurance in India

The entry of private health insurance companies in India is likely to have an impact on the costs of health care, equity in the financing of care, and the quality and cost-effectiveness of such care. However, an informed consumer and well-defined and implemented insurance regulation regime will ameliorate some of the bad outcomes. Regulation relating to benefitpackages, restrictions on risk selection and consumer protection would be clearly useful; also required are improved enforcement of regulatory regimes, creating large insurance buyer groups, and better coordination between IRDA and other regulatory bodies. New legislation in improving standards in health care provision may also be needed.

Draft National Health Policy 2001-I : Debt Payment and Devaluing Elements of Public Health

Had the new health policy document proposed an overarching vision of how all the elements it enumerates would be put in place, it would have been a visionary document. As it stands the draft policy is riddled with contradictions and confusions. It spells a significant departure from the 1983 policy objectives of providing primary health care for all, specially the underprivileged. Instead of creatively utilising private sector to provide basic affordable health care, it all but hands over the task to the private sector, inevitably undermining existing national health programmes. By encouraging the corporate involvement in tertiary and secondary level medical care without first ensuring their access to the underprivileged, the draft denies the rights of the poor to good care.

Draft National Health Policy 2001 - III : Mental Health: Serious Misconceptions

Policy must certainly be built on people-based principles and practices of 'holistic' health and serious consideration must be given to evolving new perspectives about mental health and the inner life that is beyond the Cartesian mind/body dichotomy. However, a 'holistic' conception of mental health is not about treating mental disorder as another type of public health issue, like kala azar or malaria. While mental health must make linkages with the public health discourse, the differences must be also recognised, articulated and debated.

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