Speaker: Dr. Indranil Mukhopadhyay, Associate Professor, Public Health Foundation of India
Despite progressive policy pronouncements, India has historically been underfunded its health system, with poor health outcomes and rising inequity in access to health care. India?s overall health spending currently stands around 4% of GDP which is lower than the LMIC average of around 5.2%. As a result, India?s health system is overwhelmingly financed by household out-of-pocket (OOP) expenditure (around 69%), while the share of general taxes in overall health spending remain considerably low. Annually 55 million people in the country are pushed to poverty just to meet health bills - this is more than population of 177 countries. Compulsory prepayment and risk-pooling methods of financing have been historically far fromadequate . The expansion of social insurance has been traditionally limited to a small section of central government employees and formal sector workers, covering about 75 million people, until recently. Over the last decade, the expansion of general tax funded insurance programs have attempted to bring in vast section of informal workers into a system of pooled financing, albeit for limited secondary and tertiary hospitalisation services. The author attempts to study the trends and patterns of health care financing in India and critically reviews some of the recent policy developments.