63 million Indians poor due to expensive healthcare

New Delhi, Jan 4: According to the Health Ministry, every year 63 million people in the country face poverty due to calamitous expenditure on healthcare, which negates the gains of rising income and various poverty alleviation schemes of the government. It is one of the main reasons that a new charter to ensure easy and widespread access to affordable healthcare was set up. (Read: Health Minister Nadda highlights steps take to provide affordable quality healthcare)

The draft which says, Over 63 million persons are faced with poverty every year due to healthcare costs alone. It is because there is no financial protection for the vast majority of healthcare needs, has been put up on the Health Ministry website. The draft, which also invites public suggestions, says that healthcare costs drain out people financially more now than ever before, and hospitalization leads to catastrophic expenditures. (Read: What is the future of healthcare in India?)

Rural areas are worse hit by such situations as, in 2011-12, the total out of pocket expenditure on healthcare was 6.9 % and whereas in urban areas it was only 5.5 % of the total household per capita expenditure. This led to an increasing number of households facing catastrophic expenditures due to health costs (18 per cent of all households in 2011-12 as compared to 15 per cent in 2004-05), it said. (Read: Union Budget 2014-2015: Healthcare sector expectations by Dr. Arun Singh, Senior Economist)

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Expensive healthcare, along with increasing burden of non-communicable diseases and rapidly flourishing healthcare industry are one of many reasons India needs a new health policy which controls and complements these important issues.

Source: PTI

Image source: Getty Images

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