‘Govt should expand PMJAY on priority’

ST CORRESPONDENT
Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Experts from health sector opine that the govt should also focus on building better infrastructure for healthcare industry

Pune: Experts from health sector expressed that early diagnosis and timely treatment of non-communicable disease (NCD) and expanding Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (PMJAY) under Ayushman Bharat Mission should be on the topmost priority of the government for the budget that will be tabled on February 1. 
Speaking to Sakal Times, Amol Naikawadi, Joint Managing Director at Indus Health Plus, said that NCDs are expected to comprise more than 75 per cent of country’s disease by 2025.

“Early diagnosis and timely treatment of NCDs through preventive healthcare can be helpful in reducing the burden on the out of pocket expenses and overall economic growth of the country. I strongly recommend the limit of Rs 5,000 on preventive health checkup under section 80D should be increased to Rs 10,000 per person annually, or a separate section to be created for wellness for tax reimbursement so that prevention gets its due credit,” said Naikwadi.

He further added that personal genetic tests should also be included specifically in ‘Healthcare’ definition for GST under exemption notification act.

“Technologically advanced prevention tools like genetic testing can contribute in personalising the health and wellness aspects for an individual thereby reducing the curative costs. Moreover, specific tax benefits for preventive healthcare should be given to corporates on per employee basis, so that they are motivated to invest in their employees’ health and wellbeing,” said Naikwadi. He added that the government should also focus on building better infrastructure for the healthcare industry which is a long pending demand and should be given priority in the new budget.

Expressing his views, Siddhartha Bhattacharya, Secretary General, NATHEALTH, a leading healthcare service provider, said that to create a robust healthcare ecosystem in the country it is important to take PMJAY under Ayushman Bharat Mission to the next level. “In view of very low penetration of health insurance in the country, out-of-pocket spending for healthcare services is very high. For effective management of population health universal health insurance would act as a powerful catalyst,” said Bhattacharya.

He further added that adequate funding in the healthcare is a major concern, hence a priority sector status would push financing and funding to the sector.

“This will channelise funds from the banking sector to create necessary healthcare infrastructure and meet societal objectives of the Government of India. Priority sector status to healthcare will help in the process of enabling development of innovative long-term financing structures for healthcare providers apart from creating an attractive environment for domestic production of medical equipment, devices and consumables while also catalysing research and development,” added Bhattacharya.

He added that these funds would encourage entrepreneurship and newer business models which are the need of the hour for improving access, availability and quality, especially in Tier 2, Tier 3, Tier 4 cities and rural areas. 

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