The Budget 2019-20 drew mixed reactions from the medical fraternity on Friday. While some considered it to be beneficial in the long run, for some, it was a wishy-washy affair as it failed to include medical education.
According to NATHEALTH, the inclusion of 'Healthy India' in the Government's 10 key priorities under 'Vision 2030' is one of the key takeaways from Friday's Budget, however, some medical associations called it disappointing.
Daljit Singh, President, NATHEALTH said, "The Vision 2030 announced would be a critical step to stem the tide now. Creating a robust health delivery system for comprehensive wellness of the people would be game changer."
India's Non Communicable Diseases (NCD) burden is rising alarmingly and it is estimated to cost $6 trillion by 2030, he informed. We need to declare war on NCDs and address the critical need for strengthening the Primary Care framework focused on prevention, he said further.
Reacting on Ayushman Bharat Siddhartha Bhattacharya, Secretary General, NATHEALTH said, "We welcome the scaling up plans for the Ayushman Bharat Mission and the government's focus on universal health coverage that improves India's march towards a Swasthya Bharat.
However, we believe it has to be done collaboratively through value based scientific costing driving sustainable pricing supported by improved ecosystem efficiency gains."
On the other hand, Dr Ravi Wankhedkar, Ex-National President of Indian Medical Association (IMA) calling it disappointing said, "No increase in outlay for Health has been there as it remains meager 1 per cent of GDP. IMA persistently has demanded to increase it to minimum 2.5 per cent of GDP."
He added by saying that no announcement on reducing drug prices by adopting the long standing demand of IMA of One Company-One Drug-One Price Policy has been made.
Similarly, Dr GS Grewal of Delhi Medical Association (DMA) said, "Setting up of 22nd AIIMS at Haryana is a gimmick and the budget does not include anything concrete for the medical education."
The budget also invited mixed reactions from the private healthcare providers.
Dr DS Rana, Chairman (Board of Management), Sir Ganga Ram Hospital said, "Increase in funds of Ayushman Bharat is a welcome step but I feel allocation could have more due to the sheer size and magnitude of this scheme.
Government should involve private sector for training and development of manpower for rural hospitals where availability of trained manpower has always been challenging."
Dr Aashish Chaudhry, MD, Aakash Healthcare Super Specialty Hospital also said that the Interim Budget 2019 reaffirms the Government's commitment to improve healthcare systems in the country. With Vision 2030 in place, the Government is expected to provide a new momentum to bigger collaboration among stakeholders, he added.
Earlier in the day, while presenting the budget, Finance Minister Piyush Goyal said that through Ayushman Bharat, around 10 lakh patients have already been benefited through which would have otherwise cost them Rs 3,000 crore.
Lakhs of poor and middle class people are also benefiting from reduction in the prices of essential medicines, cardiac stents and knee implants, and availability of medicines at affordable prices through Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Kendras, the Finance Minister added.
The minister also said that 14 of the 21 AIIMS operating or being established in the country presently have been announced since 2014. He also announced setting up of a new — the 22nd AIIMS in Haryana.