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Health experts emphasize on lowering of OOPE spending

PHFI president Dr K Srinath Reddy says govt’s spend on healthcare should increase

Health experts emphasize on lowering of OOPE spending

Health experts emphasize on lowering of OOPE spending

New Delhi: Economic Survey 2020-21 has received mixed reviews from health experts in the country.

On January 29, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman tabled the pre-budget survey in the Parliament followed by media briefing by the Chief Economic Advisor KV Subramanian on the same.

Dr K Srinath Reddy, President of Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) and former head of the Department of Cardiology at AIIMS, told Bizz Buzz: "The the idea that has been promoted in the survey to continue to look at both lives and livelihoods from the point of view of the bounce back, that is a reasonable proposition but many of those livelihoods also have to be created within the health sector. So, definitely, health sector spending has to be increased".

On the current Out-Of-Pocket (OOPE) expenditure, Dr Reddy said that although the current estimates of 58 to 60 per cent by the government is correct but the numbers have to be brought down much lower.

"One of the key elements which so far has not been addressed is how to cover the expenditure on the Out-Patient care and medicines. Some of them will be handled at health and wellness centres but more of it needs to be handled at other levels of healthcare and the public sector. If that is not done, we will not be able to have a substantial impact on the OOPE. So, better connectivity between PM-JAY and the primary health care and the district hospital component of National Health Mission required for this," Dr Reddy said.

Dr Nimesh Desai, Director, Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS), said that apart from additional budgetary requirements on the healthcare sector, lack of efficiency and professionalism needs to be addressed.

"What is more important to me is that while the health service has become health industry, there is more need of government-funded public insurance schemes like Ayushman Bharat. More fund along with the rigorous implementation of the public-funded schemes is required," Dr Desai said.

The Survey highlights the need in increasing the public healthcare spending from 1 per cent of GDP to 2.5-3 per cent to reduce the OOPE from the current 65 per cent to 35 per cent.

Archana Rao
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