(The Hindu Business Line) - Iraq wants to learn from India’s success story in using smart-card technology that delivers health insurance to the poor to reform its public distribution system (PDS) too.
The World Bank has invited Indian Labour Department officials to Istanbul, Turkey, to share their expertise on smart cards used in the national health scheme (Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana) with the Iraqi Government, which is keen to move from a universal PDS to a targeted system.
“The Iraq Government wants to learn how we have used the smart-card technology in our RSBY scheme and how the same cards are now being used by State governments to deliver PDS without leakages,” Additional Secretary in Labour Ministry Anil Swarup told Business Line. Feasible design
In a letter to Swarup, the World Bank said that Iraq had requested the workshop to inform and persuade parliamentarians and high-level policy makers through brainstorming sessions on designing a feasible and credible refo
Understanding the impact of global trade liberalization on health systems pursuing universal health coverage
In the context of reemerging universalistic approaches to health care, the objective of this article was to contribute to the discussion by highlighting the potential influence of global trade liberalization on the balance between health demand and the capacity of health systems pursuing universal health coverage (UHC) to supply adequate health care. Being identified as a defining feature of globalization affecting health, trade liberalization is analyzed as a complex and multidimensional influence on the implementation of UHC. The analysis adopts a systems-thinking approach and refers to the six building blocks of World Health Organization's current "framework for action," emphasizing their interconnectedness.
(Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy) - There is a growing ideological divide among Indian health researchers and policymakers with respect to the future direction of the country’s health policy. Those in favor of supply-side policies (i.e. the government should provide free or subsidized healthcare) contend that India’s health insurance scheme for the poor (called Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana or RSBY) – among the world’s largest programs of its kind – is akin to an overly expensive white elephant, which brings more pride for the policymakers than actual results. Believers in RSBY consider this criticism to be mere white noise, and argue that demand-side policies such as RSBY have a complementary role to play. In this blog, I examine arguments from both sides of the debate.
The two sides of health policy
Targeted supply-side policymaking has historically been the cornerstone of India’s public healthcare delivery mechanism.
(WHO EMRO) - The World Health Organization completed the first step of assessing alternate means of health financing in Iraq based on social health protection.
Health financing is a key area identified for modernization of the health sector in Iraq. The Government has expressed a willingness to engage in a dialogue with the aim of making the Iraqi health system more efficient and equitable based on a social health protection model.
(Business Mirror) - Health Secretary Enrique Ona has asked all health stakeholders to help the government attain universal health care (UHC) in the country or the “Kalusugang Pangkalahatan” as he recently inaugurated the Diadi Emergency Hospital and the Trauma Center of the Veterans Regional Hospital (VRH), both in Nueva Vizcaya.
“Attaining Kalusugan Pangkalahatan is a tough job that the national government cannot do alone,” Ona said, adding that the cooperation and dedication of all stakeholders will be its driving force.
Ona also visited the provinces of Isabela and Ifugao to affirm the Department of Health’s (DOH) support to local government units (LGUs) in achieving Kalusugang Pangkalahatan and personally check on the status of the rehabilitation and expansion of health facilities under the Health Facility Enhancement Program.
The health chief said in his meetings with Isabela Gov. Faustino “Bojie” Dy, Nueva Vizcaya Gov. Luisa Lloren Cuaresma and Ifugao Gov.
(The Washington Post) - January has turned out to be a banner month for fans of American exceptionalism. As documented in voluminous detail in a 404-page report released last week by the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine, Americans lead shorter lives than Western Europeans, Australians, Japanese and Canadians. Of the 17 countries measured, the United States placed dead last in life expectancy, even though we lead the planet in the amount we spend on health care (17.6 percent of gross domestic product in 2010 vs. 11.6 percent each for France and Germany). We get radically less bang for the buck than comparable nations. If that’s not exceptionalism, I don’t know what is.
Americans die young. The death rate for Americans younger than 50, the report showed, is almost off the comparative charts.
(The Guardian Nigeria) - It is hard to believe, but a child’s future can be determined years before they even reach their fifth birthday.
A child’s potential can be greatly enhanced or just as equally limited, within the first five years of their life. These years comprise the most fragile years and are the gateway to the formative years of a child’s life. Securing the future for our children, and indeed our country, requires that extra attention be paid to these formative years. It also means that we as young people must take up a role in advocating for the healthcare and other needs of these children, as the future of all our efforts is theirs to hold and cherish.
According to the UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation, some 80 per cent of the world’s under-five deaths in 2011 occurred in only 25 countries, and about half in only five countries: India, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan and China.
(Ghanaweb) - On-going stakeholder’s meeting on the National Health Insurance Scheme at the La Palm Hotel is expected to among other things finally determine the fate of the National Democratic Congress’ much trumpeted One Time premium payment plan. The forum which provided a platform for key stakeholders to deliberate on alternative and sustainable healthcare financing for Ghana is also expected to come out with recommendations which will among others, see an increase in the National Health Insurance Levy, which currently stands at two and half percent.
(Business Day Online) - Over the years, healthcare financing in Nigeria has come from public funding, health insurance scheme, external loans, grants and out-of-pocket payment for medicare.
In 2007, Harvard Business School professor Regina Herzlinger and McGraw-Hill published Who Killed Health Care? America’s $2 Trillion Medical Problem—And The Consumer-Driven Cure. In the book, Herzlinger describes the health care system of Switzerland as a case study in consumer-driven health care, one that has things for both liberals and conservatives to like (and dislike). Given the fact that both Obamacare’s insurance exchanges and Paul Ryan’s Medicare reform proposals borrow from Switzerland’s model, it’s worth learning from Regi’s research on the topic. Her work has influenced my own thinking about how to use parts of Obamacare to reform Medicare, Medicaid, and the employer-sponsored health care system in the United States.