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Q. Issues in universal health coverage: Discuss how failures of health policies and its impact on people with reference spending on health care.
Aug 31, 2016 Related to : GS Paper-2

Ans :

Introduction-

Recently released National Health Accounts data for 2013-14 have again demonstrated the government’s non serious approach towards universal health coverage to all its citizens. Indian public health system is suffering from various issues.

Issues in India-

  • Health system in India is most privatised and private health systems were poorly regulated. It is accessible only to those with income levels well above the average.
  • According to National Health Accounts data (2013-14), government spends only 1.15% of GDP, which is extremely low in comparison with other nations.
  • Similarly the state governments, which are largely responsible for implementation of universal health care, spends only 0.75% of their GDP.

Impact-

  • Failure of health policies to pool the financial risk of illness at the population level results in impoverishing payments made out of personal funds.
  • According to National Health Accounts data, the bulk of Indian health spending, a staggering 64.2 per cent of health expenditure is met by households out-of-pocket.

Suggestions-

  • Both Central and State governments should raise their health expenditures to promote universal health care system and it will reduce the burden of out-of-pockets expenditure.
  • Government should make centralised policy for procurement of essential drugs, relying mainly on quality generics and distributing them through the State government system.
  • Government should lay down standards for the cost of all medical process and it should establish regulatory authorities at the State and district levels under law to enforce the rules.

Conclusion-

The big bang reforms in public health system are pending since long, hence there is an urgent need to act decisively. To reduce the burden of common man both central and state governments must increase their spending on health system and put proper mechanism in operation. Regulatory controls would automatically lead to a reduction in costs, and curbing of unethical and corrupt practices by hospitals and diagnostics centres. Such reforms will helps in providing universal health care system to all citizens.


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