HomeLifestyleGovernment's FY19 health spending dropped from last year

Government’s FY19 health spending dropped from last year

The health care expenditure of the central government grew to 1.28 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2018-19, from 1.35 per cent in the previous year.

In fact, total health expenditure – the total money spent on health care by the government, people, private entities and external funding – fell by 3.9% of GDP in the five years ending 2018-19, according to the National Institutes of Health. has gone up to 3.2%. Accounts Estimates 2018-19 was released on Monday.

The decline in the proportion of GDP has been despite an increase in the government’s share in the country’s total health expenditure – from 29 per cent in 2014-15 to 40.6 per cent in 2018-19.

“Even if the GDP or the size of a country’s economy grows in five years, we would expect healthcare spending to either increase or remain stable at the very least. However this has not happened. And, chronic under-funding of the healthcare sector affects the poorest. Poor infrastructure in public facilities, long queues at hospitals like AIIMS, or problems in accessing the facility leaves the poorest spending out of pocket and even going to unlicensed physicians,” An expert on health financing requested anonymity.

Government spending on health schemes contributed 9.6 per cent of the total health expenditure, as against 9 per cent in the previous year. Ayushman Bharat was launched in September the same year to which the report pertains. Therefore, this ratio is likely to increase in subsequent reports.

Apart from government spending and out-of-pocket expenditure, the share of private health insurance accounted for 6.6 per cent of total health expenditure, up from 5.8 per cent in the previous year.

The expert quoted above said: “We need to see whether there has been an increase in the number of people covered or just the amount they are paying as premium. There has been a huge increase in premiums over the years People paying out-of-pocket for health care expenses made up 48.2 per cent of total health expenditure in the year 2018-19, a small drop from the previous year’s 48.8 per cent, from 62.6 per cent seen during 2014-15. Now the out-of-pocket expenses have come down significantly.

Experts are worried about the 10 per cent drop recorded in the 2017-18 report. “There is no on-ground explanation for the steep fall in pocket spending, so we need to look at the methodology. This decline is worrying many people, ”said the expert.

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