Experts lay out priorities for Modi 3.0, ET HealthWorld

Experts lay out priorities for Modi 3.0, ET HealthWorld


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New Delhi: Reiterating the need for healthcare reforms ranging from restructuring the Ayushman Bharat Yojana (AB-PMJAY) to accelerating the digital health mission, experts and industry leaders have outlined key priorities for the Modi government's third consecutive term. Their statements highlight the importance of prioritising preventive healthcare measures, strengthening infrastructure and increasing healthcare spending.

Health experts have expressed concern over whether the government will be able to make a difference in its new term by increasing public spending on healthcare in India to the desired level.

Notably, the National Health Policy (NHP) 2017, which promised to raise public health spending to 2.5 per cent of GDP, is still pending, while Indians remain heavily dependent on private services.

Dr Girdhar Gyani, Director General, AHPI (Association of Healthcare Providers, India) said, “In the coming term, we urge the government to prioritise a comprehensive approach to promote a ‘Healthy India’. This includes promoting preventive health measures focusing on sanitation, clean drinking water and nutrition, as well as rapid implementation of health and wellness centres for preventive health education and screenings.”

Dr Gyani said that accelerating the 'Fit India Movement', strengthening occupational health schemes and restructuring the Ayushman Bharat Scheme to reach all SECC-2011 beneficiaries are also important steps.

He also highlighted the importance of encouraging the private sector to set up tertiary care facilities in tier-III cities, promoting indigenisation of medical equipment and addressing healthcare infrastructure deficiencies, and accelerating the National Digital Health Mission to achieve universal health coverage through increased government spending.

Expressing his views, Prabal Ghoshal, Chairman and Director, Ujala Cygnus Group of Hospitals, said, “As we begin the next five-year term under the newly-elected government, there is a prime opportunity to catalyze transformation in healthcare infrastructure and improve the lives of millions of people.”

“Increased spending on healthcare, as well as initiatives such as AB-PMJAY, can benefit both the public and private sectors, although this will require adjustments in pricing structures. Addressing the shortage of healthcare workforce and providing regulatory relief, especially in GST input credit, will reduce the burden on the industry,” Ghoshal said.

“Furthermore, focusing on India's potential as a medical tourism destination can increase the revenues of private hospitals and establish the country as a global healthcare leader,” he added.

Abhishek Kapoor, CEO of Regency Health, said the new government has a significant opportunity to prioritize universal health care.

“A comprehensive roadmap is needed, focusing on financing long-term infrastructure, expanding medical education and implementing fiscal reforms in health insurance. Increasing the healthcare budget to 2.5 per cent of GDP is critical for progress,” Kapoor said.

He said streamlining the GST framework, enhancing healthcare professional skills and strengthening infrastructure in tier II and III cities are equally important.

Kapoor also advocated providing infrastructure status for private sector investment, facilitating low-cost funding and encouraging experts to serve in these areas.

According to the CEO of Regency Health, budget allocation for primary care, tax exemptions, and expansion of primary health centres (PHCs) through public-private partnerships (PPP) are necessary steps.

Besides, integrating government schemes under a unified digital platform will enhance efficiency and speed up payments for private healthcare providers, he added.

  • Published on June 29, 2024 at 05:19 PM IST

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