Health remains a Blind spot, IMA denounces Budget 2020

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The Indian Medical Association, country's largest doctors body  has slammed the healthcare allocation in the Union Budget 2020 and called out the government on its major proposals.

In a press note released , IMA states that health remains a blind spot in the Union Budget.

The IMA estimates that half of the additional allocation of Rs 6600 crores (Rs 69000 crores 2020, Rs 62398 crores 2019) towards healthcare will be lost in meeting the cost of inflation and also that 8% incremental allocation will hardly have any impact on the current scenario. The IMA and other experts have been talking about the minimum ideal allocation of 2.5 % GDP for which will amount to around Rs 3 lakh crores of allocation. Investment in Health has been stagnating around 1% of GDP in public sector, while private sector contributes 4.5% of GDP for Health care.

Through the press note, IMA has shattered the boastful claims regarding Ayushman Bharat, stating that the scheme is continually in great deficit financing, while presently at least Rs. 1,60,000 crores will suffice to provide effective healthcare under Ayushman Bharat. More over 80% of the claimed 20,000 hospitals in 
Ayushman Bharat are already Government hospitals.

Calling for revision of the decision of PPP model on 112 aspirational districts, IMA deems it as a sell out of family gold and backdoor corporatization of civil hospitals. It also rules out the benefits from cess on medical equipment for its threat to the tertiary health-care.

Regarding the 6 lakh anganwadi workers upoading the status of pregnant women and 
lactating mothers, IMA says then PCPNDT Act should be scrapped and Girl Child in the womb should be identified and ensure safe delivery. 

Bridge course for Nurses is proposed as solution to problem of doctor shortage in the Union Budget 2020. IMA makes it clear that medicine and nursing are two different professions. Their services are parallel and 
synchronised. "Bridges will be a disaster.
Investment in Health for Economic Recovery"

The esteemed Association highlights the fact that investment in health could improve economy since better health increases productivity and enhances the ability to earn more income . The relation is explained by the instance of 0.5 percentage increase in GDP with a 5 year gain in life expectancy and lowering of people in dependant age group by reducing infant mortality which lowers fertility. 

It points out that life expectancy can rise by 1.3% with rise of Rs 1000 in per capita Health expenditure.

According to IMA huge investment in health can address poverty, which along with hunger is intrinsically and inversely related to Health and Health investment.

The press note in a quite disappointed tone talks about the receding of government from health and enabling of profit motivated hospitals to benefit from "scheme like Ayushman Bharat".
"This is resulting in closure of friendly small and medium set ups run by single and 
couple doctors. This is magnifying the crisis several folds."

IMA’s expectations reiterate the need for investment in Health :

  1. atleast 2.5 % of GDP.
  2. in investment in public hospitals : infrastructure and human resources
  3. Investment in primary care and PHCs.
  4. Removal of insurance companies and Third Party Administrations from their role in schemes like Ayushman Bharat which charge 15% even in Government Hospitals.
  5. Single doctor and couple doctor set ups for the accessible and affordable health care in private sector should be incentivised and their regulation from NPO Hospitals should be delinked.
  6. Facilities for posted doctors, IT and diagnostics need to improved.

In a nutshell , country's largest doctors body expressed it's unhappiness over the allocation to health sector and is suspicious that with present allocation the public health issues could not be tackle properly in the country.

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