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India launches 'Modicare', the world's biggest government health programme, South Asia News & Top Stories

India launches 'Modicare', the world's biggest government health programme, South Asia News & Top Stories

For primary care - basic services usually provided by general practitioners or nurses - the government plans to open 150,000 "health and wellness" centres, staffed by nurses, traditional medicine healers and other health workers, by 2020.

Paul, the government official, said the health plan is focused on reducing "catastrophic spending" - when families have to spend more than a quarter of their incomes on health costs.

Some experts say the programme focuses too heavily on hospitalisation and neglects primary healthcare - the basic general-practitioner services that many argue are the bedrock of a robust healthcare system.

The government will pay public and private hospitals fixed rates for treating people covered under the programme.

But the government's rates are much lower than the prices that private citizens pay, experts said, and there is a shortage of applications from hospitals that can provide complex surgeries.

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