2016: Stress on Health Insurance for Families, Dialysis Centers & Generic
- 3,000 generic medicines stores under
Prime Minister Jan Ausidhi Yojna to be started
- New health
care scheme with Rs 1 lakh cover for each family to be
- Government proposes to exempt part of dialysis
equipment from customs duty
Arun Jaitley presented the union budget for 2016-17 at the Lok Sabha in New
Delhi. He announced the budget for various sectors including, health,
education, agriculture, energy, tax, personal finance, social, investment and
infrastructure, and banking.
Generic Drug Stores
To tackle the
shortage of drugs in rural areas
, as many as 3,000
new generic medicine stores will be set up by the government across the country
under the Pradan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Yojana, said Finance Minister.
‘The government will provide health insurance of up to Rs 1 lakh per family, said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, while presenting the budget for 2016-17.’
better availability of generic medicines in the country, especially in the
rural areas, the government has decided to open 3,000 new generic medicines
stores," said Jaitley.
Helping Kidney Failure Patients
In India, about
2.2 lakh new patients of End Stage Renal Disease
are in need
of dialysis every year. This results in additional demand of 3.4 crore dialysis
sessions. There are approximately 4,950 dialysis centers in the country. Most
of the centers are located in major cities, largely in the private health care
centers, so the demand is only half met.
the artificial replacement for lost
kidney function on an average costs about Rs 2,000, which lead an annual
expenditure of more than Rs. 3 lakh per year. Besides dialysis cost, most
families need to travel long distances to access dialysis services, incurring
heavy travel costs.
A National Dialysis Program will be launched
to address the high costs involved in the renal dialysis
processes. Two thousand new dialysis centers will be started
in the country under the program. The government will provide the facilities of
renal dialysis in every district hospital, so that patients do not have to
travel to the expensive hospitals of metro cities.
dialysis services in all the district hospitals, the funds for the dialysis
program will be made available through Public-Private Partnership (PPP) mode
under the National Health Mission.
Health Insurance for Family
An illness of a
family member(s) can affect the financial status, especially among the poor and
economically weaker families. The
government will launch a new health protection scheme to help such families.
Under the health protection scheme, the government will provide health cover up
to one rupees one lakh. An additional top-up package up to Rs 30,000 will be
provided for senior citizens of the age of 60 years and above.
health events are the single most important cause of unforeseen out-of-pocket
expenditure which pushes lakhs of households below the poverty line every year.
Serious illness of family members cause severe stress on the financial
circumstances of poor and economically weak families, shaking the foundation of
their economic security," said Jaitley in his speech.
Reaction from the Industry to the Health aspects of
Poonam Muttreja, Executive Director,
Population Foundation of India
said that m
any of the announcements in the health budget are very
welcome. The allocation for health in this budget
has been increased by 22% over the previous year's budget estimate to Rs.
39,533 crores. This is a very significant move given that last year, the
allocations for health were substantially reduced. More specifically, the
budget for family welfare budget (which includes family planning) has been
increased by 67% over previous years. Though details of eligibility are not yet
known, the announcement in the budget to finance a health insurance scheme that
offers financial protection of Rs 1 lakh per family is a good move. It is bound
to save millions of Indians from slipping into penury due to catastrophic
illnesses. The provision of 3,000 new generic drug stores
is also likely to ease the availability and affordability of medicines for the
poor. These are important steps towards the eventual realization of universal
She also said that despite the increase in budgetary
allocations this year, the under-funding of health by government remains a
concern. The relative importance to health in the budget remains the same. The
share of Family Welfare has increased only marginally from 4% last year to 5%
of the health budget this year. The 2016-17 health and family welfare budget
estimate for 2016-17 is 3.7% of the total central government budget (net of
transfers to states and UTs) which is similar to last year's proportion. These
increases are insufficient to offset the 54% decline in allocations by the
central government to family welfare between 2013-14 and 2015-16. Much higher
health allocations are necessary to carry forward the family planning agenda
and reorient it towards reproductive health and rights, paying greater
attention to quality and spacing methods.
Ms. Ameera Shah, MD & CEO- Metropolis Healthcare said
,"Overall a promising budget. Its heartening to see the fiscal discipline
and a slew of initiatives for the under privileged. A lot of emphasis on
infrastructure has set the right tone for overall economic reform. When it
comes to healthcare, the union budget has rightly addressed the issue of
unexpected healthcare expenses being a burden and pushing families in to
She added that it is important that the leaders from this industry are
heard in the policy process where they can join hands with the Government to
spearhead more planned and regulated funds for health and healthcare. She felt
that "This by far has been the most disappointing budget for health. It is time
that the government realizes that Health is an important indicator of economic
development and work towards an overarching vision for healthcare."
Mr. Anjan Bose, Secretary General, NATHEALTH
said, 15% increase in government spending on
the social sectors with focus on healthcare should go a long way in ensuring universal
health coverage. However, the health care industry is concerned since the
Government has not addressed the issue of recent increase in import duty on
medical equipment and devices. The medical
technology sector is in an infancy stage with manufacturing limited to less
complex devices. More than 75% of medical equipment / devices is still imported
and hence the duty increase will result in increase in healthcare cost.
Managing Director & CEO of Max Healthcare, said,
"I welcome the steps being taken to promote penetration of affordable and
accessible healthcare. Allocation of 9,000cr towards Swachh Bharat Mission
will further strengthen the
Government's commendable vision for a better and cleaner India. However, we await
more details and clarity on norms for PPP models, funding of government led
schemes, expanded physical infrastructure for medical education and the easing
of norms in this regard."
Dr.PM Bhujang, President, Association of
"Out of the nine pillars of Union
Budget one was social healthcare. The major highlight in healthcare sector was
the introduction of National Dialysis Programme. Also, the government has
announced an exemption on basic dialysis equipment from custom duty, which is
in line with AOH's recommendation. However, the government should also consider
exemption of custom duty on critical medical equipments."
the moves of the government are welcome in the current budget, however the
finer prints will still needs to be deciphered. Implementation of all the
promises is going to be a challenge. Do we have any information on how was the
last years budgetary allocation utilized. It would be useful if there is a
session in the parliament before the budget session for the government to
announce the promises that have been accomplished from the previous year's