We need a leap in healthcare spending

1.      India’s per capita expenditure on health remains among the lowest in the world.

2.      While 10.6% of the total amount in the Interim Budget is allocated to defence, only 2.2. % is allocated to healthcare.

3.      The U.S.’s health expenditure is 18% of GDP, while India’s is still under 1.5% and remains short of its ambition to increase public health spending to 2.5%.

4.      According to the National Health Profile of 2018, public per capita expenditure on health increased from ₹621 in 2009-10 to ₹1,112 in 2015-16

5.      Government has launched Ayushman Bharat-PMJAY and allocated ₹6,400 crores in the Interim Budget to reduce out-of-pocket expenditure on health. Under Ayushman Bharat it was announced to setup nearly 1.5 lakh health and wellness centers.

6.      The mandate of these centers is preventive health, screening, and community-based management of basic health problems, health education and holistic wellness integrating modern medicine with traditional Indian medicine.

7.      In order to finance health care system, NITI Aayog has proposed higher taxes on tobacco, alcohol and unhealthy food.

8.      There is no resource allocation for preventive oncology, diabetes and hypertension due to which over 70% of cancers are diagnosed in stages III or IV. Prevention of chronic kidney disease, which affects 15-17% of the population, is not appropriately addressed.

9.      It has been argued increase of GDP alone does not guarantee health, since there is no direct correlation between GDP and health outcomes, however improvement in health leads to healthy worker and contributes to productivity.

10.  Long term investment is required in health care system to reap the benefits.