Wayanad: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday hailed the healthcare programme for the poor initiated by the Rajasthan government, saying if the party secures power at the Centre post the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, similar initiatives will be rolled out nationwide.
Gandhi highlighted the disparity in healthcare access, noting that those with financial means can access quality treatment in big hospitals, while those lacking financial resources face significant challenges when dealing with illnesses like cancer or heart disease.
Addressing the audience after the inauguration of a new block at a private hospital in Sulthan Bathery, located within his Lok Sabha constituency, Wayanad, the Congress leader said that the biggest victims of medical tragedies are often poor people and stressed the need for a reevaluation of healthcare at the national level.
“I travel around India quite a lot and I notice that the biggest victims of medical tragedies are poor people. Because if you have money you can always get treatment in a good hospital,” the Wayanad MP said.
He said having financial means allows access to quality treatment in big hospitals, but for those lacking resources, facing illnesses like cancer or heart disease can essentially bring their lives to a halt.
“…If you have money, you can always get treatment in a good hospital, you can always go to a fancy hospital and get treatment but if you are poor and you get cancer or a relative gets cancer or you get heart disease or your relative gets heart disease, then you really basically your life is over,” the former Congress chief said.
He said that the union government should prioritise providing affordable healthcare to the poor as a fundamental guarantee to its people.
“I think at the national level we need to rethink the way we think about healthcare and I think one of the guarantees that the national government should think about giving its people is healthcare at really low cost, especially to the poor people.
“We have done some work on this in Rajasthan and hopefully if we come to power in 2024, we will try and implement these types of ideas across the nation,” Gandhi said.
He also expressed concern about the increasing trend of hospitals operating solely as profit-driven entities, saying that such a direction is detrimental to the well-being of the nation.
The Congress party has hailed its Chiranjeevi Health Insurance Scheme in Rajasthan as a “model” for the entire country, asserting that increasing the medical coverage to Rs 50 lakh would provide significant relief to both the poor and the middle class.
During the Rajasthan Assembly poll campaign, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh had praised the scheme as a boon for the people of Rajasthan, highlighting its comprehensive coverage, including free treatment for various medical procedures such as kidney and liver transplants, cancer and heart disease treatments, operation, dialysis, and implants.
The party considers the ‘Chiranjeevi Health Insurance Scheme’ as the best free treatment scheme in the country, with a promise to raise the coverage to Rs 50 lakh if re-elected in Rajasthan.
Voting for 199 out of the 200 assembly seats in Rajasthan was held on November 25. The counting of votes will take place on December 3.