Expectation of healthcare sector from Budget 2019

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By Dharminder Nagar, MD, Paras Healthcare.
"We need a multi-pronged approach from the government to strengthen and reform the healthcare sector in India. On the one hand, it involves improving the state of public healthcare by increasing budgetary allocation, establishing more medical colleges and improving primary healthcare facilities. On the other hand, it involves measures to enable the private sector to spread its presence beyond the urban landscape. This will help in improving accessibility for secondary and tertiary care in tier 2/3 towns and rural areas. For the latter to happen, the government must offer major incentives and tax breaks to private healthcare organizations setting shop in non-urban areas. These incentives can include income tax breaks for the first few years of operations, help in procuring land, making medical equipment GST free for such hospitals and relaxation on service tax on hospital inputs. Similarly, establishing a mechanism to offer fund support or subsidization in treatment cost to private hospitals in smaller towns and rural areas can go a long way in bridging the accessibility gap. 
At the same time, the government must also establish mechanisms to take private hospitals on board for Consultations to increase their participation under the Ayushman Bharat scheme. Rationalization of treatment packages and speeding up the recovery process are essential elements that will encourage more private hospitals to empanel under the scheme",  
 
By Savitha Kuttan, Founder & CEO, Omnicuris- (a health tech startup that provides digital continuous medical training to medical practitioners)
"With the introduction of the central government’s Ayushman Bharat National Health Protection scheme, the burden on the healthcare scheme is only expected to rise. As it covers 50 crore households or 500 million people, healthcare isn’t only getting more accessible but also becoming more efficient in diagnosing and treating patients with a strong primary care system in place.  The need of the hour is the primary care system should be strengthened in such a way that they are capable of doing the initial assessment, diagnosis and basic management and appropriate referral if need be. A thorough assessment and investigation at the primary care or secondary care can lead to a significant saving of resources at the territory level. The government should facilitate more Continuous Medical Education (CMEs) to upgrade their skills which can solve the problem of shortage of trained doctors." 

By Ajoy Khandheria, Founder, Gramin Healthcare 
"Ensuring accessible, good quality healthcare in rural India remains the biggest challenge in the healthcare sector. The government needs to direct financial resources to build the primary healthcare infrastructure in rural and remote areas, and that is difficult unless public spending on healthcare goes up from 1.15%. When over two-thirds of the sector is driven by private players, the government should be more willing to get into a partnership-based approach with them to achieve universal health coverage in line with the UN’s sustainable development goals. We also want the government to increase the tax exemption for preventive health checkups and promote preventive care practices to bring down the disease burden of non-communicable diseases, which are currently responsible for 61% of deaths in the country. We also need their support to help reduce our dependence on China for Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients. It will bring down the manufacturing cost and market price of drugs, and make them more affordable for people living in remote/rural areas"

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