‘Public Health Expenditure Should be Kept At Par with GDP’s Growth’

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Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has released the 14th edition of the National Health Profile 2019, on (October 30, 2019).  Dwelling on the report, Nivesh Khandelwal CEO and Founder CareCover,  says, “The access to accurate data released consistently  gives an opportunity to the start-ups to address the key challenges faced by the healthcare sector efficiently.” The National Health Profile helps the government navigate health needs and issues of the population and devise area-specific program strategies.

Khandelwal added, “While public expenditure on healthcare has increased in absolute terms from INR 72000 crores to INR 2.13 Lakh Crore, it has still not kept pace with WHO standards for public health expenditure as a percentage of GDP. The government should aim to increase the expenditure as % of GDP by 0.25 basis points every year. Notably, the hospitalization expenses are lower in certain states like Delhi and Karnataka as compared to others. The government needs to set up a task force to assess how to bring down the cost of healthcare without penalizing service providers for the same. Successful schemes like Delhi Arogya Kosh could be implemented across other states too.”

The health finance section of the profile provides an overview of health insurance and expenditure on health, including both public and Out of Pocket Expenditure (OOP). 

Khandelwal says, “In India 70% of the total healthcare expenditure is out of pocket expenditure and 5 Crore people are pushed below poverty line due to the burden of healthcare expenditure. This is something that the policymakers must ponder over and seek collaboration from players working in the domain. One of the solutions that we are providing is to convert your out-of-pocket expenditure into easy EMIs with zero % rate of interest for 12 months.”

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