Public Health being a State subject, the primary responsibility to provide health care services to the citizens lies with State/UT Governments. However, Government of India provides financial assistance to patients living below poverty line, who are suffering from select life threatening diseases and undergoing treatment in Government hospitals including Government super speciality hospitals, under the Schemes, ‘Health Minister’s Discretionary Grant’, ‘Health Minister’s Cancer Patient Fund’ and ‘Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi’. The financial assistance to such patients is released as a one-time grant to the Medical Superintendent of the hospital in which the patient is receiving treatment.
Additionally in order to provide affordable health care services to the people, especially the poor, the Government has taken several steps which, inter-alia, include (a) support to the State/UT Governments, under National Health Mission to strengthen their health care system, including support for provision of free drugs and diagnostic services and free health care services in public health facilities based on the proposals submitted by the States/UTs in their Programme Implementation Plans, (b) the Rashtriya Swasthaya Bima Yojana (RSBY) which provides for smart card based cashless health insurance including maternity benefit on family floater basis. A Senior Citizen Health Insurance Scheme has also been introduced as a top up package of RSBY and (c) launching of Affordable Medicines & Reliable Implants for Treatment (AMRIT) outlets initiative, for making available medicines/implants at reasonable prices significantly lower than the market prices, at major Central Government hospitals.