Millennium Post

Right to Health likely to become reality soon

According to the draft of the National Health Policy, 2015, which was released by Health Ministry on Wednesday, every person would get the right to health and in case of its denial will face stern punishment as per existing rules of law of the land.

The draft, which has been put in public domain to seek public opinion on it, answers one of the fundamental policy questions of our times —whether to pass a health rights Bill making health a fundamental right in the way that was done for education.

“The Center shall enact, after due discussion and on the request of three or more states (using the same legal clause as used for the Clinical Establishments Bill) a National Health Rights Act, which will ensure health as a fundamental right, whose denial will be justiciable,”  the draft of new health policy states, adding that states would be able to voluntarily opt for this by a resolution of their legislative assembly.

Citing the success of health laws in many industrialised nations, the document stated, “Several developing nations that have made significant progress towards universal health coverage. Countries cush as Brazil and Thailand have done so and the presence of such a law was a major contributory factor.”

“Courts have also rulings that in effect see health care as a fundamental right- and a constitutional obligation flowing out of the right to life. There has been a ten-year long discussion over this without a final resolution,” it added.

According to the new policy draft, states with a per capita public health expenditure rate of over Rs 3,800 (at current prices) should be in a position to deliver on this. “Such a policy formulation/resolution we feel would be the right signal to give a push for more public health expenditure as well as for the recognition of health as a basic human right, and its realization as goal that the nation must set itself,” the document stated.

The draft policy has been placed in the public domain until February 28, 2015, for stakeholders’ feedback. The NDA government is also keen to explore the creation of a health cess on the lines of the education cess for raising the money needed to fund the expenditure it would entail.

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