The switchover to the 'pay and be treated' mode in a country which has a sizeable population living below the poverty line has understandably caused concern to those monitoring public health. Says Robert J. Kim-Farley, the World Health Organisation (WHO) representative in India: "It must be ensured that there is total access to healthcare and that such services are affordable. Sometimes the costs of hospitalisation are so high that it alone can push one below the poverty line. These points need to be considered while finalising the policy."
This is just one of the contentious issues in the draft NHP due to be finalised in a fortnight. Coming as it does after a gap of nearly two decades, it has angered several organisations working in the health sector who have alleged that it is anti-people, lacking in vision and a total 'sell-out' to transnational forces eying the huge health market.