As the Covid-19 outbreak continues to put the country's healthcare system under immense stress, hospitals in India are moving ahead with expansion plans in an attempt to boost the country's healthcare system. The pandemic has brought attention to the urgent need for high-quality, easily accessible health care.
India's government spending on health care is still much lower than that of other countries. India spends little over 1% of its GDP on public health care, which is among the lowest levels in the world. The sector has strong expectations from the upcoming union budget 2022 and has expressed its concerns before the government ahead of the budget session.
Increase in budgetary allocation to healthcare
The estimates for the healthcare sector in the union budget are for an increase in the budget expenditure from 1.8% to at least 2.5% of GDP this year. This is a request that is frequently made. Given the status of health care in the aftermath of the Covid pandemic's devastation, some concessions to the business are necessary.
These concerns the loosening of standards for treating destitute and weaker section patients for free or at a significantly reduced cost. The budget must include funding for universal health insurance with a fair price system that allows charity trust hospitals to participate and build new hospitals.
Enhanced public-private partnerships for indigenous Manufacturing
The COVID-19 outbreak 2 years back has brought into sharp focus the urgent need for high-quality public hospitals. To increase indigenous manufacture of essential medical devices, PPE, and medication raw materials, more public-private collaborations are needed. In the future, a policy to deal with pandemics must be developed, with a collaborative approach to public-private partnerships being used. To bridge the rural-urban healthcare divide and make healthcare available to everyone in the country, the budget must extend universal healthcare programs and invest in technology.
Increase in spending on raw materials for drugs, public hospitals, and trauma centers
There has to be increased investment in advanced training and capacity development programs for physicians, nurses, and healthcare workers in intensive and critical care, pulmonology, cardiology, cancer, emergency, and trauma care through cheap study tools and courses.
Healthcare should be given priority status so that it may profit from the GST transition and providers and healthcare service delivery organizations can get loans with lower interest rates and longer repayment terms. Because trauma systems have substantial financial expenses, the government should consider giving a budget to integrate trauma centers in Primary and Community Health Centers.
Establishing a medical innovations fund to promote digital healthcare
The epidemic has brought to light the need of having high-quality public hospitals and digital healthcare infrastructure. A special fund should be set up for a national campaign on preventive health, testing, and screening, as they are critical to reducing India's overall illness burden.
To relieve hospital overcrowding, the government should focus on developing asset-light models powered by digital health to boost out-of-hospital care, remote monitoring, and home care. This can be done by investing in healthcare startups.
To support telemedicine for diagnosis and treatment, the sector needs to boost the digital ecosystem to speed up the acceptance of new technologies. As a result, the government must increase funding for the healthcare business. The union budget would be a stepping stone in this direction.
Tax advantages for private-sector healthcare providers
Over the last two years, medical costs have risen, with pandemics taking center stage. Many people have lost their jobs or had their salaries reduced, putting financial strain on their families.
The government must make digital healthcare inexpensive to alleviate these issues. An emphasis on making health insurance more accessible by lowering the GST on premiums from 18% to 5% is a reasonable solution.
It's also crucial that the government lowers the duty and cess on critical care and life-saving equipment and pharmaceuticals to help providers and patients save money.