Dr Virendra Verma, Senior Resident, Lucknow’s King George’s Medical University
I have witnessed people with heart ailments begging for treatment in front of helpless doctors. There are countless requests for monetary help and discounts in medicines and other products that are used for implants, especially heart. When I judge a government’s performance, I weigh it on the steps taken in the direction toward a welfare healthcare system.
In this regard, I hold Modi regime has performed well. The revision of stent prices was a revolutionary decision taken by the government. I have seen patients giving blessings to Modi. Earlier, stents were dubiously priced high and beyond the reach of the poor and lower middle class patients.
Things drastically changed when the Centre standardized the stent prices. Even people from low income groups are able to opt for a stent placement.
I would like to share the story of Shanti Singh, a patient from Varanasi who came to Lucknow for treatment. When she came here, the price of one stent was about Rs 1.5 lakh. After we gave her an estimate, she quietly went back home. However, after the prices were revised, Shanti came back to us and this time the entire cost of her treatment –which included installing two stents in her coronary arteries, medicines and hospital stay — totaled just Rs 70,000.
Next, the Ayushmaan Bharat health scheme is a revolutionary step towards providing comprehensive healthcare services to this country’s citizens. A majority of the beneficiaries under this scheme are able to get themselves treated at private hospitals, which are bound to entertain them without any excuse. This takes the load off government hospitals to a great extent. And we can improve our performance.
Private hospitals did have initial objections, but now they have no other choice. A friend of mine who runs a private hospital in the neighboring district was forced to allocate a sizeable number of beds for the beneficiaries of this scheme. He was rather perturbed by this but gradually he had to get accustomed to it.
Also putting most of the life-saving drugs under direct price control and opening of Jan Aushadhi Kendras at government hospitals will surely be another feather on the cap for the BJP government. I will undoubtedly support a repeat term for the Narendra Modi government.