This episode of “Future of Health” by Apollo Hospitals, unfolds the truth behind how affordable the government is making healthcare for the common people and about how much public spends on healthcare from their own pockets.
If healthcare is a basic right, why isn’t it affordable by common people? When you fall sick, you go to a doctor for diagnosis and then later go to a pharmacy to buy medicines. Right from going to the doctor to buying the medicines, you are paying the money from your own pocket, which is called public spending and the solution to this problem is PPP (Public- Private Partnership).
Does every country pay money from their own pocket to avail basic health facilities? In U.K, the government bears 80% of the total cost and rest 20% is public spending. Whereas, in India, the system is hybrid and is a mix of private insurance and government-funded schemes, but the cost of medicines must be increased to provide better healthcare facilities in corporate and private sectors as it becomes difficult to cater to the needs of 1.3 billion Indians.
How does India fare at public spending? Despite being the 2nd largest economy in the world, why are we not at the top in terms of accessibility and affordability of the basic healthcare facilities?
“When we talk about reasonable costing, it cannot be one way. If something is not viable or profitable for private money, they will stop putting money in it and the government is falling short of all the resources it has neglected the health sector in last 70 years. It has no resources to manage this menace. So, the government and private sectors need to work together so that they can be reasonable in pricing and accessibility and comprehensive for both the players.” - Dr. Mukesh Goel (Cardio – Thoracic Surgeon (Treating Doctor))
India’s per capita insurance expenditure on healthcare is the lowest in the world. Every year about 6 crores people end up in poverty due to spending in healthcare, which means about 7000 people plunge into poverty every hour in India which is the combined healthcare membership of Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, and New Zealand.
Such was a story of Pushpa, who could not afford private facilities. When health diseases caught her unaware, she went for a medical checkup in a government hospital where they found blockages in her heart. They suggested a heart surgery to remove the blockages and asked for medical insurance, but she did not have any and thus, wasn’t treated there. Later she was taken to Apollo Hospital, where they immediately admitted her to start the treatment. Her treatment was free of cost because of the benefits of the Chief Minister Scheme Card. The Chief Minister’s Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme was launched by the Government of Tamil Nadu to provide medical insurance coverage for underprivileged people living in the state. This plan offers coverage for emergency medical expenses with the help of various empaneled government and private hospitals in Tamil Nadu.
These schemes impacted several lives but were limited to the area, locality, district or maximum to a state. Imagine if familiar schemes are ruled out by the central government, how impactful it would be in terms of reaching common people. It would give people the best health services at the best price thereby helping people to remain healthy, save money and have more value to the economy and the country.
Watch the video to know more about public expenditure on healthcare.