New Delhi - With the Narendra Modi government to present its last full budget this year, the health care industry has called for a better role for private sector in the country's health's system and structured tax benefits for it.
It also urged the government to boost the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) in the health care industry.
"The budget must acknowledge that quality of health care delivery is non-negotiable. The public sentiment in India should understand that quality care demands heavy investment of capital, and more importantly, skilled manpower," said Sunneta Reddy, Managing Director of Apollo Hospitals, in a statment.
She said by national priority status for health care, the government can signal its intent to put in place an enabling environment that will attract both financial and intellectual capital, and stimulate creation of high-quality capacity.
"Several approaches in combination can be used for this - in public-private partnership models, or purely by incentivising the private sector with carefully structured tax benefits," she said.
The health care industry has also sought high investment in the diagnostics industry for early diagnosis of which in turn has the potential to improve productivity loss or delay onset of diseases or eliminate the necessity for tertiary treatment.
Noting that in the National Health Policy 2017, the government has insisted on the need to strategically invest in promotive and preventive health care measures, the private healthcare industry said that the move has boosted many health insurance schemes.
"The fact, however, is that adequate and comprehensive coverage for a range of services and diseases remains elusive. Curative and invasive interventions, such as surgeries and in-patient care, are covered by public health insurance policies. But despite non-communicable diseases being responsible for more than 50 per cent of all deaths in India, health insurance schemes seem unprepared to meet this disease burden," said Arindam Haldar, CEO of SRL Diagnostics.
"The absence of coverage for outpatient care and pre-existing diseases is now an impediment to a comprehensive and affordable health insurance cover. One hopes the Finance Minister finds some ways to address the lacuna," he added.
Among other demands made by private health care includes better budget allocation for primary health centres.
"Budget should focus on increasing the penetration of primary health centres and uplift the quality of medical facilities offered through these centres. Government should come up with a long term plan for increasing the number of specialist doctors mostly in small cities," said Kavish Chouhan, Director Dermaclinix.
Chouhan also urged for promotion of cosmetic surgery industry as part of medical tourism.