Without declaring the ‘right to health’ as a fundamental right, it is not possible to achieve the goal of Universal Health Coverage. Comment.

The Right to Life & Personal Liberty as enshrined in article 21 of the constitution, has been expansively interpreted by the Supreme Court. Thus, many of the intelligentsia opine that the time is ripe for ‘Right to Health’ as a fundamental right.

Steps towards Universal Health Coverage:

  • The ‘Ayushman Bharat Yojna’ which gives 5 lakh health insurance cover to all poor families without any insurance premium is a step in the right direction.
  • Over 50 crore are covered under this scheme.
  • It is a central scheme and managed by National Health Authority.
  • Around 1 lakh crore have been allotted for this scheme.

Need for ‘Right to Health’:

  • The UNDP’s sustainable development goals enjoin to ensure healthy life for all.
  • India’s CMR is 52 and life expectancy is only 68.
  • India’s performance in the UNDP’s Human Development Report is hampered due to lack of universal health coverage.
  • Stunting, Wasting, Nutrient Deficiency, etc are widespread due to inadequate health care.

Way Forward:

Thus if ‘Right to Health’ is made a fundamental right, then it would ensure a ‘justiciable’ framework for redressal. But mere declaration is not enough, we need robust healthcare system, insurance, monitoring, etc. The principles of Alma-Ata declaration needs to be followed.

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