As a signatory to the Sustainable Development Goals, India is obligated to provide its people “safe, effective, quality and affordable” healthcare. The essence of universal health coverage (UHC) lies in ensuring that good health and wellbeing do not come at a cost of financial instability. As India moves toward UHC, it will have to considerably increase its level of public spending on health.
India’s government health expenditure has remained below 1.5% of its GDP, lower than that of less prosperous neighboring nations and much below the global average of 6%. The low spending on health translates into limited reach, inadequate and inferior quality of services and a consequent dependence on the private sector, which is more expensive.
In the absence of a widespread financial protection scheme, private spending on health impairs the financial stability of 63 million people every year.
To evaluate public financing mechanisms capable of sustainably delivering universal health coverage in India, GHS undertook a study in partnership with the International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC), Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the IKP Trust. The resulting report, “Financing Universal Health Care in India,” contains a synthesis of learning from global health care financing experiences, a detailed analysis of India’s health budgets and interviews with government officials, technical experts, health economists and media persons. These findings were deliberated upon at a consultation with government officials from the Indian ministries of health and finance, economists, public health experts and private sector stakeholders, as well as global and local development partners.
Since its publication, the report has been shared with a range of stakeholders to encourage action at the highest policy level. Most recently in August 2017, the report was shared with Members of Parliament at a roundtable event, on ‘Health Care for All’, organized by GHS. The study findings have attracted interest from the group and generated significant discussions.read the report