Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday announced many measures in Budget 2018-19 to uplift Indian healthcare sector. With initiatives like National Health Protection Scheme and Ayushman Bharat programme, the Government reiterated its commitment to achieve goal of providing affordable, quality healthcare to one and all. Industry experts and medical professionals have hailed the Union Budget and termed that these steps will push healthcare sector to extra mile.
Lets have a look how healthcare Industry views it.
Dr. Dilpreet Brar, Founder, CEO & MD, medECUBE Healthcare
We welcome the Governments unparalleled healthcare insurance and assurance efforts under Ayushman Bharat. This holistic approach aims to address numerous issues plaguing Indias overall healthcare requirements. With over 3.5% of total Indian population being below poverty line and sanitation and cleanliness being key concerns in rural India, healthcare levels at its lowest. Majority healthcare expenses are borne out of pocket and when struck with any medical emergency, such needs may claim a familys complete income and assets.
Launch of National Health Protection Scheme initiative with nearly 50 crore beneficiaries and a cover of Rupees 5 lakh would not only provide social security to underprivileged families in form of insurance and low cost healthcare facilities, but would also contribute significantly to nations economic progress at large. India observes one of the vilest doctor patient ratio at 1:1700 and announcement of 24 new medical colleges, as well as upgrading medical training will help address this deficit. The launch of 1.5 lakh healthcare centers is another affirmative measure to address the issue of healthcare access at the grassroots level.
Amol Naikawadi, JMD, Indus Health Plus
The 2018 Union Budget looks positive for the healthcare sector. With this health protection scheme, most of the health needs of the low-income group will be taken care of. In my opinion, the Budget should have given some preference to health screening as well, so that a culture of prevention could have been created. Government is focusing more on NCDs, which mostly show symptoms at the end stages, hence treatment becomes difficult and expensive.
The setting up of 1.5 lakh new health and wellness centres is also a good decision however strengthening the preventive healthcare sector would have lowered the NCDs burden and treatment cost. This would also help in reducing health expenses of the country as a whole.
Narottam Puri, Fortis Healthcare
Overall the Government has presented a good Budget providing an opportunity to the private sector. Budget also focussed on a target for reducing IMR and MMR. Rs 1200 crores for Health and wellness centres and 5 lacs per family for 10 crore people could prove to be a gamechanger.
Mr. Vishal Bali, Co-Founder & Chairman, Medwell Ventures
The budget rightly provides focus on Agriculture, Healthcare & Education. The big move towards the path of Universal Healthcare Coverage under the flagship National Health Protection scheme which will bring 50 crore citizens with Rs 5 lac/family for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation is transformational for the country. The question to answer is how will the scheme be funded and uted given the fact that health is also a state subject. This move coupled with the announcement of 24 additional Government medical colleges and hospitals gives healthcare the centre stage in this Budget.
In addition, the increase in tax exemption for senior citizens on health insurance premium and medical expenditure is a good move. This was also the opportune time for the Finance Minister to give infrastructure status to the healthcare sector and provide the much needed acceleration to capacity creation in the sector.
Prof. Dr. Sanjeev Bagai, Padma Shree Presidential Awardee
National health policy 2017 has envisioned health and wellness centres as foundation of Indias health. The creation of 1.5 lakh centres will bring healthcare closer to the homes of the people. Flagship National health protection scheme launched to cover 10 crore poor and vulnerable families. These two new initiatives will build a new India 2022 and ensure or enhance productivity and well being and avert impoverishment. We are progressing towards universal health coverage.
To increase accessibility of quality medical education, 24 new government medical colleges and hospitals will be set up by upgrading existing district hospitals in the country. This would ensure at least one medical college for every 3 parliamentary constituencies and at least one govt medical college in each state of the country.
Khushroo A. Pastakia, CEO & Managing Director, Voxtur Bio Ltd.
With worlds largest Government-funded health scheme in place, National health protection scheme will cover 10 crore poor families. The Government has increased its benchmark for quality healthcare for its people. Its becoming evident that the Government is slowly but steadily progressing towards universal health coverage.
V Thiyagarajan, MD, India Home Health Care
This year’s Budget is aimed at touching the lives of the rural folk which will bridge the gap between the rural and urban population. We feel that utilizing 1.5 lakh healthcare centres across the country will bring the health benefits to almost all the households. We also welcome the Government’s move to provide free essential drugs and diagnosis as it will reduce the burden on people seeking treatments for life threatening diseases. It will also help in promote Universal Health Coverage for all under the National Health Policy.
The launch of National Health Protection Scheme with an enhanced Rs 5 lakh medical insurance and over 10 crore families is going to be a gamechanger in the healthcare industry. We also welcome the Government’s new initiative to allocate 600 crores to support tuberculosis patients. Overall, we feel that the budget is going to enhance productivity, better access to healthcare facilities for rural and urban population and generate more jobs in the sector especially for women. We also feel that the budget should have covered the areas of palliative care, chronic and critical illnesses.