The financially-weaker section of the society may hope to get better healthcare facilities from privately-run hospitals such as Escorts, Max and Apollo in the future. The government is planning to issue healthcare vouchers to the poor who could use it as a currency in private hospitals. Hospitals, in turn, may get full refund from either the government or accredited insurance companies. Some states like Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand have already tried this successfully in pilot projects. Haryana, Karnataka and Kerala too have tried public-private partnership and insurance schemes to provide healthcare access to people. These schemes will be replicated nationally in the next few years to cover the entire population, said a government official. Private hospitals and insurance companies will be accredited with the government for this purpose. The proposal is part of a blueprint for healthcare reforms outlined in the eleventh five year plan. State governments have also agreed to the proposal. Secondly, doctors and nurses at government-run hospitals, who are either too busy or do not care about the patients, will stand to gain or lose their remuneration based on their performance. Central and state governments will introduce a performance-linked compensation package at hospitals. The move is also expected to help in retaining better performers in government hospitals by incentivising their efficiency. The government’s target is to lower the cost of healthcare for the tax payers as well as to increase access to quality care for the poor. As per the latest official data, Indians spend about 6% of their consumption expenditure on health care. Families’ out-of-pocket expenditure on healthcare accounts for about 72% of the total health expenditure incurred in the country. Consumers are forced to spend a lot for private healthcare as government spending in healthcare is just below 1% of the GDP. The central government will double this in the next few years to fund public private partnerships, said a government official.

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