Budget Recommendations 2016

eHEALTH shares the industry recommendations for the health sector for the upcoming Budget 2016

Dr. A. Velumani, CEO Thyrocare
Reduce custom duty for reagents and instruments used in diagnosis “ this will help to give affordable services.
Fix prices for tests that cost more than Rs.1000 like how Railways say 2AC, Rajkot to Cochin costs this much “ this will help in avoiding looting by players.
Munish Daga, CEO at Remedinet Technologies

“From a budget point-of-view, the government needs to bring in tax incentives specifically for outpatient cover to make it more attractive and consumer-friendly. At present, service tax is levied on the premium charged on health insurance policies but when a patient pays for the service at a clinic out of pocket there is no such tax involved. This makes a policy more expensive for the consumer or it artificially increases the insurers cost in case the insurer needs to absorb the same, thus encouraging non insurance cash transactions.

Similar to the 80D incentive, if tax incentives are introduced for the consumer specifically for outpatient cover, it will encourage the adoption of outpatient health insurance and furthermore, take the entire transaction from cash to electronic which in itself brings with it a host of obvious benefits. Tax incentives for Healthcare providers who service consumers through electronic transactions and insurance will also encourage providers to create a better environment for adoption of insurance. In addition the availability of electronic data will facilitate data analysis based on various parameters enabling informed policy decision making.

There is plenty of data available to prove that early detection of symptoms and preventive measures can significantly bring down the need for tertiary healthcare thus drastically reducing the effective cost of healthcare for the patient apart from the indirect cost of loss of productivity and the emotional turmoil that a patient and his family go through when being treated for critical illnesses not detected early enough. Encouraging outpatient health insurance cover among people is probably one of the best ways of enabling early and preventive healthcare.  

Dr Dharminder Nagar, Paras Healthcare
Healthcare so far has remained a less attended sector for all. Although some progress has been noticed owing to increased focus on the sector by the new government, there still remains a lot of scope. With the Union Budget 2016-17 round corner, the healthcare industry has pinned many hopes on the announcements. While we expect a concrete mentioning of increasing total public health expenditure from the current 1.2% to at least 2% of the GDP, the budget should also identify specific health projects, based on majority of citizens immediate health needs. Moreover it is our suggestion that the government instead of being a provider should become & evolve as an enabler. It should aim at sensitizing the public on insurance and ensuring that the out of pocket expenses decrease. This will empower the public and shall make the healthcare scenario more stratified. The financial resources of the union and state governments should be spent on awareness and primary care. Capital investments like spending on hospital building, equipment should be curtailed. The poor and the needy can be helped by the special bed policy or the insurance coverages. Our growing population and increasing fiscal burden requires the same. Until and unless a healthy and actual public private partnership doesnt happen in healthcare, the scenario is difficult to change.

Moreover as a special recommendation taking Digital India into consideration is the unification of public and private hospital management systems that provides every individual of the country a Unique ID. By following the trend analysis on nationwide basis an insight into the NCDs, Communicable Diseases, Immunization Compliances and notifiable diseases can be made. This shall not only help the national health policy formulation but shall also help forecast any major health situation.

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