A key objective of the National Health Policy 2017 is to align the private sector towards public health goals. Its main strategy is to ensure free comprehensive primary care provision by the public sector, supplemented by strategic purchase of secondary care hospitalization and tertiary care services from both public and non-government sector to fill critical gaps. The key mechanism of strategic purchasing is insurance schemes. Thus in the larger context of ensuring Universal Health Coverage, government funded health insurance schemes seek to play a very large role. Services would be strategically purchased from public as well as private sector to improve health outcomes, reduce out of pocket payments and minimize moral hazards for the purpose of scaling up the schemes and made more effective. The policy provides for preferential treatment to collaborating private hospitals/institutes for CGHS empanelment and in proposed strategic purchase by Government. However, we need to ask critical questions such as: What have been the various bottlenecks, successes and failures of the existing national and state level insurance schemes? What are the lessons learnt so far for these to be scaled up? What have been the experiences of the users? What has been the experience of for-profit private health sector? What are the pros and cons for adopting the insurance approach to realise the goal of Universal Health Care? What are the crucial gaps that need to be addressed for health systems strengthening for UHC and how?
Themes for the conference:
1. Critically evaluate the role of government funded health insurance schemes. What has been the experience of the public and private sectors vis-a-vis the insurance schemes?
2. Evidence based learning from the various National level and State level insurance schemes and their role in improving health outcomes, health equity, reducing out of pocket payments and moral hazards to improve scalability and efficiency.
3. Role of State in Health Systems Strengthening for UHC: Infrastructure, human resource, regulations, standardization, quality assurance, etc.