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Attaining Universal Health Coverage with Government-Funded Health Insurance Scheme: A wicked solution to a wicked problem
  • Nikita Pandey,
  • Arnab Jana
Nikita Pandey
Indian Institute of Technology Bombay Ashank Desai Centre for Policy Studies

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Arnab Jana
Indian Institute of Technology Bombay Centre for Urban Science and Engineering
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India launched the world's largest health assurance scheme in 2018, declaring it a giant step towards Universal Health Coverage. The concept of Universal Health Coverage, as defined by the High-Level Expert Group in India, entails both protection from financial hardship and addressing social inequities in access to health. India has a remarkable number of health government-funded health insurance schemes. However, these schemes have time and again proven to be a failure in achieving Universal Health Coverage. In this paper, we discuss the evolution of the government-funded health insurance schemes in India over the period and its attempt towards achieving UHC. Given the vast diversity in the demographics of India and various healthcare needs, we attempt to view Universal Health Coverage as a wicked problem. A wicked problem occurs due to the existence of an underlying problem and discrepancies in its representation. The path of Universal Health Coverage in India entails ten central pillars under which policymakers must address the web of problems. We argue that the characteristics defining a wicked problem make Universal Health Coverage arduous for policymakers. And that the path to achieving Universal Health Coverage cannot be a straight one with a government-funded health insurance scheme. This perspective article intends to draw the attention of the policymakers and relevant stakeholders to view achieving Universal Health Coverage beyond the scope of offering means-tested financial protection and impart an interdisciplinary approach to attain Universal Health Coverage.