New Delhi: Echoing the urgency of healthcare reforms ranging from restructuring of Ayushman Bharat Yojana (AB-PMJAY) to accelerating the digital health mission, experts and industry leaders have outlined key priorities for the Modi government in its third consecutive term. The common message resonating from their statements underscores the importance of prioritising preventive healthcare measures, strengthening infrastructure, and increasing healthcare spending. Pertinent to mention that the National Health Policy (NHP) 2017, which promises to increase public health spending to 2.5 per cent of GDP, is long overdue even as Indians depend heavily on private services. As the Government enters its third term with Modi 3.0, there are huge expectations for the realisation of affordable healthcare services for Indian citizens at the ground level. Healthcare experts have also expressed concerns about whether the government in its new term will make any difference by increasing public expenditure on healthcare to the desired level in India.

Dr Girdhar Gyani, Director General, Association of Healthcare Providers, India (AHPI) said, “In the upcoming term, we urge the government to prioritise a comprehensive approach to fostering a ‘Healthy India’. This entails promoting preventive health measures focusing on sanitation, clean drinking water, and nutrition, alongside the rapid implementation of health & wellness centres for preventive health education and screening. Intensifying the ‘Fit India Movement’, strengthening occupational health schemes, and restructuring the Ayushman Bharat Yojana to reach all SECC-2011 beneficiaries are crucial steps.

Additionally, incentivising the private sector to establish tertiary care facilities in tier-III towns, promoting indigenisation of medical equipment, and accelerating the National Digital Health Mission is imperative for addressing healthcare infrastructure gaps and achieving universal health coverage through increased government spending.”

Expressing his views, Probal Ghosal, Chairman & Director, Ujala Cygnus Group of Hospitals, said, “As we embark on the next five-year term under the newly-elected government, there’s a prime opportunity to catalyse transformation in the healthcare infrastructure, enhancing the lives of millions. Increased healthcare spending, coupled with initiatives like AB-PMJAY, can benefit both the public and private sectors, albeit requiring adjustments in pricing structures. Addressing the shortage of healthcare staff and providing regulatory relief, particularly in GST input credit, will alleviate burdens on the industry. Moreover, focusing on India’s potential as a medical tourism destination can boost revenue for private hospitals and establish the nation as a global healthcare leader. Continuous reforms, with a stronger private sector role, and expanded health insurance coverage in rural areas are vital for holistic progress.”

Abhishek Kapoor, CEO, Regency Health, shared, “The new government faces a critical opportunity to prioritise universal healthcare. A comprehensive roadmap is essential, focusing on long-term infrastructure financing, expanding medical education, and implementing fiscal reforms in health insurance. Elevating the healthcare budget to 2.5 per cent of GDP is pivotal for progress. Streamlining the GST framework, enhancing healthcare professional skills, and strengthening infrastructure in tier II and III cities are equally crucial.

Providing infrastructure status for private sector investment, facilitating low-cost funding, and incentivizing specialists to serve in these areas are essential steps. Budget allocations for primary care, tax exemptions, and expanding primary health centres (PHCs) through public-private partnerships (PPPs) are advocated. Furthermore, integrating government schemes under a unified digital platform will enhance efficiency and accelerate payments for private healthcare providers.

Sanjeev Krishan, Chairperson, PwC India, added, “The incoming Government shoulders the task of shaping the economic and social destiny of the world’s most populous and young democracy. While the Government will continue to strengthen the foundation of our nation, it should also consider prioritising allocation of resources and efforts around three actions:

Enhancing its trust quotient with the youth by gainfully engaging them with a host of skill driven employment and entrepreneurship initiatives. Focusing on research & development, with the right incentives and backing to bolster India’s innovation landscape.

Collaborating with industry and academia to build policy and regulatory frameworks to transform technologies and leverage it more meaningfully in the India context. Forging partnerships to help navigate the complexities of an evolving landscape and strengthen India’s position on the global stage.

Embedding sustainability as a core principle in the planning and execution of key governmental initiatives, as well as programmes driven through public-private partnerships. Moving sustainability from a risk-protocol to a strategic opportunity.”

  • Published On Jun 10, 2024 at 05:54 PM IST

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