Dr SD Gupta, Chairman, IIHMR University, Jaipur
With the current health insurance penetration being just below 20 percent, it’s a path-breaking decision of the government to provide health insurance to 50 crore people, about 40 percent of total population of India. Over 70% of household health expenditure is out-of-pocket, and it becomes catastrophic for the family if it requires hospitalization for major illnesses. Government has rightly committed itself to giving financial protection of up to 5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary medical care.
Families in India, almost 25-30% are impoverished because of hospitalization and catastrophic expenditures on healthcare. This is world’s largest healthcare initiative. A historic rise of allocation to health sector by 12% will definitely help people to benefit in accessing and using health services. A lot more needs to be done in the medical and healthcare in India. Greater fund allocation is required to promote research and development, especially biomedical research and implementation research in health care. Apart from TB, there should also be a focus on non-communicable diseases which are rising menacingly in the country. About 60 percent of all deaths in the country are taking place due to non-communicable diseases like heart disorders, cancer, and diabetes which needs urgent attention”
Dr Sanjiv Kumar, Director and Dr Sumesh Kumar, Professor, International Institute of Health Management Research, Delhi
“The Modi government has done significantly better than the last three years in its Budget proposals for health in this year’s Budget. With its national health protection scheme to cover 10 crore vulnerable families with a Rs 5 lakh cover, the government has addressed a crying need. Hopefully it will be well-executed and translate into better access to hospital care and treatment for the poor and the marginalized.
It is well-known that a large number of Indians get impoverished every year on account of sudden out-of- pocket health expenses. Other proposals — greater focus and allocation for maternal, child health and non-communicable diseases(non-communicable diseases which account for two thirds of deaths annually) and nutritional support to tuberculosis patients @ Rs 500 a month during the treatment period are laudable, but much will depend on how well they are implemented and utilize.
It was gratifying that air pollution in Delhi got special mention in the FM Budget speech. Budget speech. Let’s hope something concrete will be done to clear Delhi’s toxic air. One wishes the government had also made a separate allocation for developing and scaling up technological innovations to improve access to quality healthcare in the country and for creating a cadre of hospital managers for efficient working of our health facilities.”