February 1 will see Finance Minister presenting the Union Budget 2018 in the Parliament. In order to boost healthcare delivery in the country, the healthcare sector is expecting some major steps to be taken by the Modi government. The Apollo Hospitals suggested to give healthcare a national priority status and also advised the government to adopt universal health insurance last week.
Grapevine has it that the Modi government is poised to raise its public health spending by 11 percentto $8.2 billion which is up to INR 52,353 crore in the India Budget 2018 next month. Last year, the budgetary allocation to the health sector was raised 28 percent and allocated a sum of INR 48,853 crore. It was a major increase from the previous year figures of INR 39,688 crore in 2016 and INR 33,150 crore in 2015.
The healthcare industry expects the budget to make the right proposals in identifying the pitfalls of India and healthcare situation. The catastrophic expenses people suffer because 70 percent of their needs are met by the private sector and the poor state spending (1 percent of the GDP) is also a concern, which the medical experts want the budget to address. They also seek government’s priority to strengthen public hospitals so that it doesn’t need to depend much on the private sector except in unavoidable cases, strengthen primary care to reduce the burden of secondary and tertiary care, and strengthen the infrastructure, capacity, financing and human resources, and envisage a complete overhaul of primary care.
We will have to wait and watch how much of the expectations will the government be able to pull off.