Healthcare a costly affair for Aam Aadmi in India

Healthcare a costly affair for "Aam Aadmi" in India.

Are the Multi Crore corporate Hospitals making Health-care, A Costly affair for the “Aam Aadmi” in India?

OR

Are they bringing in cutting edge advancements in Healthcare, which were earlier beyond the reach, rather inaccessible for the Common man?

OR

Is it the declining state of the public healthcare system that has fueled the growth of private healthcare sector with no regulations or monitory control over the ever-growing private healthcare sector, which has made things worse for the common man?

All this are matters of great debatable to justify whether the big corporate hospital groups, which have come up in the recent past, having pumped crores into infrastructure development with a touch of luxury offer services beyond the horizons of treatment and cure. Are they leverage on the declining state of the public healthcare system?

Earlier Hospitals and health services segment used to be the business of some irresponsible governments which never had accountability for any lapse that happened because of poor management of health issues.

Or that of some Missionaries supported by some business conglomerates, which out of compulsion and with some CSR on agenda, provided some relief to the diseased population.

Getting a speciality care was far out of the scope of a common man. Now there seems to be a complete deviation from the ancient concept of hospital which provided help and care to the diseased and needy, hospitals were considered as temples of love and care.

Now with giant corporate’s venturing into this industry, the so-called temples have turned out into business centres with focus on profits.

In the past business and business development had been a forbidden word in healthcare Industry. However, the recent surge in the industry growth has made such variables more relevant than ever before. Brand Building, Marketing Strategy, Return on Investment (ROI), Customer Retention, Market Penetration, are the new buzzwords of healthcare industry.

The Healthcare industry is estimated to be the world’s largest industry with total revenues of approx US$ 2.8 Trillion.

India’s high population makes it an important avenue for global players in the Healthcare Industry. Now with private players coming into this segment, Its clear that there is urgent and enormous demand that needs to addressed properly, In India, about 80% of the healthcare expenditure is borne by the patients and that borne by the governments is around 12%. The expenditure covered by insurance claims is 3%. As a result, the price sensitivity is quite high and the high-level healthcare facilities are not in the reach of patients.

The question arises, Are these corporates really into healthcare? Which aims for total cure, rehabilitation and prevention of diseases?

With such a shift in focus, Time has come to redefine the paradigms that determine the level of care given to patients. The growth of the healthcare Industry must be directly proportional to the level of care, irrespective of the ability to pay.

Governments must focus and spend more on healthcare front rather than pumping more money defending the seen enemy and forgetting the unseen enemies that kills silently.

It is pathetic that our public spending on health was just over 1% of GDP and private spending, about 5%, which means the government has left this segment to the private sector. We are aiming at increasing public expenditure on health to major 2% of GDP by the end of the current Five-Year Plan. Comparing this with the United States, which spends of about 16% of GDP (which is projected to increase to 19% by 2017), of which about a half is public spending. China spent 5.6% of its fast growing GDP on health in 2003, and the figure has since risen significantly. In fact, India’s position would look hopelessly indefensible if per capita spending on health is reckoned — it is just $80 compared to US’ about $4,900, UK’s some $2,000 and China’s $230. Policy makers do admit that we should aim at some 6% of GDP as public expenditure on health (till the time the necessary infrastructure is created), but this is hardly reflected in annual budgetary outlays.

Hence it’s high time we address the healthcare issues of the common man who don’t have the ability to pay for their health issues, before this gets out of proportion, we must force policy makers to stimulate improvements on Public healthcare, which has been on a serious decline during the last couple of decades because of non-availability of medical and paramedical staff, diagnostic services and medicines,” notes the Planning Commission in one of its recent reports. This is why despite the high and sometimes-prohibitive cost of accessing private healthcare services, there is an increasing, and mostly forced, shift from the public to private corporate hospitals.

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