Budget 2018: Industry leaders hail national healthcare programme
The healthcare industry has welcomed the budget proposal to launch the world's largest publicly-funded healthcare programme and the proposed National Health Protection Scheme to cover around 50 crore people.
"The plan to invest in creating a healthy nation by launching the Ayushman Bharat programme is a welcome step. Such ambitious, out-of-the-box thinking was the need of the hour and the government has not disappointed.
"The move to cover 10 crore families with 5 lakh per family/per year for secondary and tertiary healthcare will be a game-changer," Apollo Hospitals chairman Prathap Reddy said.
The Budget today announced the world's largest government-funded healthcare programme, aimed at benefiting 10 crore poor families by offering a Rs 5 lakh cover per family annually for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation.
The finance minister also said government will set up 24 new government medical colleges and hospitals by upgrading existing district hospitals.
"While the minister has presented a moderate Budget, he continues to lay emphasis on overall infrastructure development and strengthening of the rural economy. Increased focus on healthcare augurs well.
"On the corporate side, there are no significant changes which was expected. Overall the budget was as per expectations," Glenmark chairman Glenn Saldanha said.
The Budget highlighted the availability of low-cost medicines. This should lead to a reasonable presumption that there will be further action on the price control front going forward, Khaitan & Co's Sameer Sah said.
The National Health Protection Scheme will be an interesting initiative and if the private players are allowed in, this will have an additional opportunity to serve more patients, Sah added.
Jaitley committed Rs 1,200 crore for the National Health Policy. This would go towards 1.5 lakh health and wellness centres to bring healthcare closer to the homes.
Metropolis Healthcare managing director Ameera Shah said overall, this has been a pro-people and a pro-poor Budget. For the first time, universal healthcare has got the impetus it needs. The plan to introduce 24 new medical colleges will address the glaring lack of talent.
"NHPS rollout will need an effective gatekeeping system with an immediate focus and strengthening of primary care services. Such systems will ensure equity by judicious referral system to secondary and tertiary care" KPMG India's Nilaya Varma said. PTI