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Budget 2024: 70,000 hospitals for Rs 140 crore, will Rs 10 lakh insurance change the health sector?

Sagar Patel

By Sagar Patel

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Ayushman insurance coverage may increase in India

The government will present the full budget for 2024-25 on July 23. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will also break a new record by reading the budget speech for the seventh consecutive time. Meanwhile, it is expected that the government may increase the scope of Ayushman Bharat health insurance scheme to around 12 crore people and may also increase its coverage limit from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh. In such a situation, the question is whether this will change the landscape of the country’s healthcare sector.

In the pre-budget discussions, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) put forward several suggestions to improve the country’s healthcare sector in its meetings with the Finance Minister. But before that, let us also look at the state of the country’s healthcare sector.

70,000 hospitals for Rs 140 crore

Citing a Knight Frank report, ET News said that there are currently around 70,000 hospitals for the country’s 140 crore population. Of these, 63 per cent are in the private sector. If all the public and private hospitals in the country are combined, there are only 1.3 hospital beds available per 1,000 people. While taking it to 3 beds per 1,000 people is standard.

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The report says that to achieve this target, India still needs to develop the capacity of 24 lakh beds. For this, there is a need to develop the healthcare infrastructure and real estate sector in the country on a large scale. There is still a shortage of 2 billion square feet of healthcare space in India.

If you are insured for Rs 10 lakh?

There is currently a discussion going on within the government that the number of beneficiaries of the Ayushman Bharat scheme should be doubled in the next 3 years. Not only this, almost the entire population above 70 years of age in the country should be included in it. The health cover for them should also be increased to Rs 10 lakh.

This is actually a proposal by the IMA itself, where it has asked the government to provide a basic healthcare package for all citizens of the country. Funds for this should be raised from taxes. So much so that the government should reinvent the Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana, which should include aspects like outpatient treatment, cost of medicines, reimbursement model for treatment and making facilities available to patients directly.

The government should increase spending on health

IMA has asked the government to increase its budgetary allocation to health. IMA says the government should take it to 5 per cent of the GDP, which currently stands at 1.1 to 1.6 per cent. Not only this, it has also asked the government to invest in public hospitals, because if the goal of “Developed India 2047” is to be achieved, then the government will have to keep the health sector as a priority.

The government also increased the allocation for the Ayushman Bharat scheme in the interim budget presented in February. Around Rs 7,200 crore was set aside for it. While Rs 646 crore was kept separately for the Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission. Now, if the government focuses on providing Rs 10 lakh insurance and expanding the scope of the Ayushman Bharat scheme, then the annual budget will be around Rs 12,000 crore.

Looking at the current situation, around 3.8 percent of GDP is spent on the country’s health sector, including both public and private. This is lower than the average health expenditure in most low- and middle-income countries in the world. There, too, an average of 5.2 percent of GDP is spent on the health sector.

Sagar Patel

Sagar Patel

I am Sagar Patel, specializing in business news reporting. With a keen focus on economic trends, market analysis, and corporate developments,

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