Budget 2020: Expectations from the healthcare industry

Union Budget 2020: Expectations from the healthcare industry

Meena Ganesh is the Managing Director & CEO at Portea Medical

By Meena Ganesh

India has one of the lowest spending on healthcare globally. While it was stated that the country is set to increase the healthcare spending to 2.5% of the GDP by 2025, it continues to stand at 1%. We hope to see some action around this in the upcoming budget. A major focus must be given to the home healthcare industry which is one of the ways to realize the government’s vision of affordable healthcare for all. However, current taxation policies and regulations do not cover home healthcare and diagnostic tests and other at-home aspects still form a large part of people’s out of pocket expenses. Home healthcare is not recognized as a mainstream sector and should be brought under the ambit of governmental schemes like the Ayushman Bharat yojna. We also expect to see an increase in the limits on reimbursement of expenses on diagnostics, preventive health check-ups, etc. and for home healthcare to be made a part of this exemption. Critical healthcare equipment such as ventilators, wheelchairs, crutches, and medical equipment spare parts should be exempted from GST. This will help make quality healthcare more accessible.

While it is encouraging that steps have been taken to register services like elder care homes and home care agencies for provision of care to elderly, the real challenge is in terms of lack of facilities. Add to this is the cost of elder care and complete non-availability of insurance.

(Meena Ganesh is the Managing Director & CEO at Portea Medical)