Dr Anant Pahdke
To achieve the public health care expenditure objectives of the National Health Policy, there is a need for an annual 40% rise in govt health expenditure. But this budget shows an increase of only 12%. The NRHM budget has been reduced by 5%.
Instead of focussing on strengthening of the govt hospitals for secondary and tertiary care, this budget gives a health care expenditure coverage for poor people and tax benefit for health care insurance for middle class people. This is continuation of the trend of promoting health insurance which will benefit the intermediary health insurance industry and the private sector; a path which is contrary to the recommendation of the government’s High Level Expert Group (HLEG) on Universal Health Coverage. Patients will be the least beneficiaries.
The new National Health Protection Scheme to cover 50 crore poor people has an allocation of Rs. 2000 crores. This is Rs. A tokenish Rs. 40 per capita compared to around Rs. 4000 per capita required for Universal Health Care!!
New medical colleges attached to district hospitals is a welcome step but there should not be any PPP with the private sector for opening these new medical colleges as is being planned by the Maharashtra government. Nutritional support to TB patients is a welcome addition based on recent research.
The eulogising of the Janaushadhee yojana recently in Manakee Baat of the PM turned out to be empty as no increase is seen in the miserly, tokenish allocation for it even in the 4th year of this government’s budget compared to the plan made by the Manmohan Sing govt.