Wealth Spent On Health: The Indian Edition
Healthcare costs have skyrocketed over the last few years. Do you know how much we spend every year on health? Read on to find out.
The average value of a human body is between $5.3 million and $8.7 million or about ₹43,66,10,800 to ₹71,67,00,745. Now, we don't want you to line up to sell your body parts. However, to reach these numbers, you must stay in pink of your health.
Good health is everything. It means getting good sleep, having a congestion-free nose, and a perfectly working mind and body.
But maintaining good health costs money and can add up in different forms. These hidden health expenses may range from including organic superfoods in your diet to getting a gym membership to ensure that you get enough exercise.
Importance Of Good Health
People often use the quote “Health is wealth”. Having a healthy body and mind can cost a lot of money. However, being sick and spending time in the hospital costs a lot more.
Many of us spend very little on our health, which shows. According to an economic survey, India is among the ten worst-performing countries when it comes to prioritising healthcare in government spending. We spend about ₹1,815 per person on healthcare, which comes to about 1–1.5% of our GDP.
It is less than that of our neighbouring countries like Bhutan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. The figure is much smaller compared to many countries, which, on average, spend about 6–8% of their GDP on public healthcare.
The healthcare expenditure in India is unevenly distributed among the states too. On the one hand, Mizoram spends ₹5,862 per person per year, which is among the highest in the country, while Uttar Pradesh spends just ₹733 per person per year, which comes to ₹2 on healthcare per day.
The Impact Of Our Spending
India has the highest number of people spending out-of-pocket on medical bills. People are forced to do this because of a variety of factors, including a lack of doctors in rural areas, the non-availability of medicines and diagnostic tests, the lack of specialised facilities in every corner of the country, and poor public health infrastructure.
We spend a lot of money on private healthcare, which needs to be more affordable. According to the National Health Account, India’s overall healthcare cost on out-of-pocket expenditure (OOPE) came to 48.21% in 2018-2019 against the global average of 18.1%.
One accident or major surgery is all it takes to push many Indians into poverty. Without health plans, citizens are left to dip into their hard-earned savings or sell assets in an emergency.
High out-of-pocket expenses cause over 55 million Indians to go into poverty yearly.
Where Do We Spend Our Money?
We shell out most of our money on medicines. We spend a lot on pills for our treatments after getting sick, which contributes to a large chunk of our healthcare expenditure. Of the total ₹3,20,211 crores spent by Indians in 2016, 67% of it went to medicines alone. Besides medicines, we also spend on doctor fees, lab tests, and injectables.
In 2016, the total healthcare expenditure in India was ₹5,28,484 crores, and we spent over 60% of it out of our own pockets for treatments in private healthcare facilities while the remaining was spent by the Central and State governments.
This number highlights a few crucial issues―a lack of faith in government-run hospitals, a lack of access to high-quality medicines for every citizen in the country, and a glaring lack of government-run diagnostic facilities.
What Does The Future Hold?
The government does have a plan to address these issues. According to the National Health Policy 2017, authorities aim to increase the expenditure on healthcare to 2.5 % by 2025. Similarly, the Health Ministry is working on a plan to increase the utilisation of public health facilities by 50% by 2025.
Our government also has a few important healthcare initiatives in the pipeline. One such is the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana Scheme, which will issue a health ID card to collect and digitise the health records of every Indian citizen with a 14-digit unique number.
Another is the Pradhan Mantri Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission (PM-ABHIM), which aims to strengthen public health institutions and governance capacities by providing free diagnostics at district levels as well as mobile hospitals.
There is an active push from the government to regain the people’s faith in using public health facilities, even as existing ones are being upgraded and new ones built at various places to make high-quality healthcare accessible to every citizen.
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