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Budget 2018 healthcare: Private hospitals say implementation is key

Arun Jaitley announced the world’s largest government-funded health care programme, aimed at benefiting 10 crore poor families by providing coverage of up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation.

india Updated: Feb 01, 2018 18:33 IST
Press Trust of India,Mumbai
Budget 2018,Union Budget 2018,Arun Jaitley speech
The investment in hospitals is a subject matter of viability, so it is yet a bit premature to assess investment potential of the schemes announced during Union Budget 2018, says Wockhardt Hospitals group managing director. (File)

While lauding the healthcare protection schemes for the poor announced in Thursday’s Budget, head honchos of leading private hospitals said their effective implementation was crucial.

Finance minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday announced the world’s largest government-funded health care programme, aimed at benefiting 10 crore poor families by providing coverage of up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation.

Zahabiya Khorakiwala, MD, Wockhardt Hospitals group, saidtheSuraksha Bima Yojana would ensure that almost 40% of underprivileged population is able to access secondary and tertiary care healthcare, and it would increase the market size for healthcare providers radically.

“The investment in hospitals is a subject matter of viability, so it is yet a bit premature to assess investment potential of the schemes announced. However, if the propositions are commercially viable, these would be opening a vast market for the investments to flow in,” she said.

Vishal Beri, CEO of Hinduja Healthcare Surgical, said the flagship national health protection scheme seems to be one of the largest benefit programmes, and a milestone towards achieving greater affordability and accessibility.

“The newly announced Health Protection Scheme seems like a bold move and a big step towards Universal Health Coverage. However, as with previous schemes, the key remains successful execution and minimisation of leakages,” he said.

Sujit Chatterjee, CEO of LH Hiranandani Hospital, said, “It is a very welcome step by the government to provide subsidised healthcare for the poor...the only challenge from an infrastructure perspective is to build the essential point of care network to deliver these benefits.”

Tarang Gianchandani, CEO of Jaslok Hospital and Reserch Centre, said industry experts were expecting that the government would focus on the primary healthcare this time.

“The government has taken a step forward towards setting up 24 new government medical colleges-hospitals which again is a positive step provided we are able to retain these doctors for our country’s health care needs,” he said.

He said the National Healthcare Protection scheme is going to be one of the biggest reasons for transformation in the sector.

Those suffering from critical illnesses will get tax rebate, encouraging people to go for better healthcare options, he said.

Arindam Haldar, CEO, SRL Diagnostics said it would be a welcome step if out-patient diagnostic costs are covered.

“The absence of coverage for out-patient care and pre-existing diseases is an impediment to a comprehensive and affordable health insurance cover,” he said.

Dhaval Shah, Co-founder PharmEasy, saidthe healthcare programme will give a huge boost to the entire healthcare ecosystem, especially in Tier 2 markets.

“The implementation is something that will be tested over time.....the critical illness waiver on medical insurance is a welcome step for elderly people,” he said.

First Published: Feb 01, 2018 18:32 IST