Plans to launch new health protection scheme and making quality medicines available at affordable prices with plans to launch 3,000 Jan Aushadhi stores proposed in the Budget will help more people in getting access to proper healthcare, say industry players.
Reacting to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's proposals in the Budget 2016-17, Apollo Hospitals Group Chairman Prathap C Reddy said: "Healthcare has finally taken the centre stage in the Budget.
The healthcare industry is, however, concerned since the government has not addressed the issue of recent increase in import duty on medical equipment and devices, Bose said. In budget speech, Jaitley today said that catastrophic health events are the single most important cause of unforeseen out-of-pocket expenditure which pushes lakhs of households below the poverty line every year.
In order to help poor and economically weak families, "the government will launch a new health protection scheme which will provide health cover up to Rs 1 lakh per family. For senior citizens of age 60 years and above belonging to this category, an additional top-up package up to Rs 30,000 will be provided," Jaitley said.
Hailing the budget proposals, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India LLP Partner on Healthcare Sector Charu Sehgal said: "The announcement of a new universal health Insurance scheme with a coverage of Rs 1 lakh per family and additional Rs 30,000 for the senior citizens towards hospitalisation care is a welcome move." It was a critical need and will have a positive impact on increasing affordability, therefore spurring demand. Increased demand will in turn incentivise supply of healthcare delivery in rural areas, she added. "The budget looked at the healthcare as a key area for inclusive growth, however the focus has majorly been on health cover and palliative care," Omron Healthcare India MD Hisao Masuda said.
On an overall level, the government has introduced measures to ease implementation and development through the PPP model, but there is a need to initiate specific partnerships to upgrade healthcare infrastructure beyond urban areas, he added.