Health is a political hot potato, says Modi

Stating that the health sector was fast evolving into a political hot potato, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi said that it was an "expensive proposition" to fall sick in the country.

"Health is fast becoming a political issue. These days, it has become a reason for a government's survival or demise. Issues surrounding health have become very sensational," he said indirectly hinting at how the Obama administration in the US had faced a shutdown because of its health reform nicknamed Obamacare.

"It is becoming a prime agenda for all governments," Modi said while addressing an auditorium full of physicians and their families from the US who had assembled under the banner of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) on Friday.

"These days, it is not expensive to be born, nor is it expensive to lead one's life; but it is very expensive if one falls ill," Modi said.

The CM also quoted President Pranab Mukherjee saying how four crore families in India run into debt because someone or the other in their respective families have fallen ill.

Modi said that India's demographic dividend could turn into "demographic disaster" if the people and their issues are not managed well.

"Insurance is a big business. In our country, we need to change our focus from providing health insurance to giving health assurance," Modi added.

The event also saw AAPI giving out four awards for excellence to doctors in India. This included Dr Harsh Vardhan, BJP's chief ministerial candidate for the just concluded Delhi Assembly elections. An ENT doctor, was awarded for his pioneering work in "Pulse Polio" programme in India. However, Harsh Vardhan was not physically present to receive the award from Modi.

Meanwhile, BJP national secretary Dr Anil Jain was also part of AAPI's programme and was one of the invitees sharing the dais with the CM. Another prominent BJP personality present on the dais was BJP president from Mumbai, Raj Purohit.

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