Punjabis pay three-quarter out of their pocket for healthcare

  • Tanbir Dhaliwal, Hindustan times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Mar 11, 2016 19:55 IST
Almost (86%) of overall public health expenditure was on the wages and salaries of the human resource. (HT Photo )

With little support from the state government, Punjabis pay more than three-quarter of the healthcare bill from their pocket.

The state health accounts report — which the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, and the Public Health Foundation of India in New Delhi have compiled for the year 2013-14 — states that the households in the state bear more than 76% of the treatment cost, while the government contribution is less than a fifth — 19.65%. In other words, for every Rs 5 spent on health care, government puts in just Rs 1.

The report was released at PGI on Thursday here.

In the year 2013-14, the current health expenditure in the state was ’13,414 crore, 4.2% of Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP). Of this, the state contributed only a fifth (21.1%), which is less than 1% of the GSDP. Dr Shankar Prinja, associate professor of health economics at the PGI School of Public Health, said: “The extent of Punjab government’s spending in the public-health sector is very low. so the general public ends up spend more from own pocket.

The government spends just 0.9% of the GSDP on this, which is less than even the national figure of 1.2-to-1.3%.”

“Of every Rs 4 spent on health in the state, households contribute more than Rs 3 (76.5%), leading to inequity in spending and impoverishment due to catastrophic payments,” mentions the report. It explains that only 23% of resources are paid through pooling like health insurance, whereas 77% of payments are paid in cash. “It leaves a large section of Punjab’s population vulnerable to inadequate pre-payment and risk pooling mechanisms in health care financing,” reveals the report.

Almost (86%) of overall public health expenditure was on the wages and salaries of the human resource.

On the other hand, in case of private spending, maximum was on the consumption of medical goods (54%).

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