India turns to private sector to boost health coverage
India’s new New Health Policy 2017, the first issued in 14 years, takes a sharp turn toward embracing the private sector in its aim to achieve universal health coverage. The government will seek to plug gaps in service for its 1.2 billion people through “strategic purchasing” of care from private facilities and clinics.
The aim is to improve not only access but also affordability and quality of service. The private sector already provides almost 80 percent of outpatient and 60 percent of inpatient care. Now, the plan promises to reduce out-of-pocket costs for patients, which help drive some 55 million Indians into poverty each year, according to the country’s 2015 draft National Health Policy.
To fund its initiatives, the government policy pledges to boost health care spending overall up to 2.5 percent of gross domestic product by 2025, from its current 1.5 percent.
- Health Care