India is rolling out a healthcare plan for half a billion people. But are there enough doctors?
NEW DELHI - India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to roll out the first phases of a new health care program on Wednesday that could bring affordable health care to a staggering 100 million families.
First announced in February, the National Health Prection Mission will give poor families health coverage of up to $7,100 every year - which could go a long way in reducing crippling health care costs for half a billion people. At the time, Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said this was going to be the "world's biggest go nment-funded health care program."
It's an ambitious plan that could have vast appeal among vers, but one that also faces major challenges. Experts say that even if the go nment can provide insurance to so many people, India lacks the health care infrastructure to provide even the most basic services for its population.
Health care in the world's most populous de acy is characterized by a yawning gap between the services available in urban and rural parts of the country and between rich and poor. State-funded hospitals face huge shortages of beds and staff, and because of the scarcity of medical facilities in villages, many have to travel for hours to cities for care.
Medical costs are the number one reason people plunge below the poverty line, and millions of families fall into de t to pay for care.
Modi's plan could change all that, the go nment says. "This is going to be a game changer," said Indu Bhushan, chief executive officer of the program.
India has seen a huge economic l over the past three decades, but lags behind in social welfare and in quality of life indicators.
A health care program of this scale - covering around 40 percent of India's population - could clinch Modi's reputation as a leader who can deliver vast social change ahead of general ions next year.
India spends just 1.4 percent of its gross domestic product on health care compared with 's 3.1 percent and the United States' 8.3 percent, according to the World Bank.
The cost of health care services has a knock-on economic cost - according to a 2010 study, 63 million people fall below the poverty line every year because of health care costs, and over 70 percent of medical bills are paid out-of-pocket by patients.
Even with the new public health care plan, however, India simply does not have the doctors and hospitals to serve so many hundreds of millions.
There is one doctor for every 1,315 people - most of whom work in private hospitals and live in cities, which means millions of Indians turn to quacks or traditional medicine when they fall ill.
With this expansion of affordable health care, demand for services is likely to explode. Bhusan said that there will be 5 million more procedures in the country, and the need for 35 million more hospital beds.
"In theory those beds est, but in reality, those beds may not be there."
When asked how hospitals will cope, Bhushan said, "The market will do that."
Unlike the public sector, the country's private health care sector is booming.
The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, a business association, estimates that the market will grow 15 percent every year and rise threefold by 2022 to $133 billion. And while millions don't have access to decent care, the country markets itself as a hub for medical tourism.
The shortages in the public sector mean that around 70 percent of Indians turn to private health care when they are unwell, Bhushan said. But private hospitals can charge as much as 10 times more than their public counterparts for the same procedures.
Bhushan said that 8,000 hospitals have already signed up to the go nment's plan and have agreed to accept set costs for procedures. The go nment is also ho that investors will recognize the booming demand for health care and build more hospitals in response.
Critics however caution that relying private health care is inefficient and could see increased disparity between the services available to rich and poor.
The private sector expects huge profits when investing in health care, said Rnan Laxminarayan, director at the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy, and the go nment's budget constraints simply won't be able to match their expectations. "The private sector wants more money than the go nment wants to spend," he said.
来源：三泰虎 http://www.santaihu.com/45838.html 译者：Jessica.Wu
John7 hours ago
Even other semi-industrialized nations are starting to provide health care for their citizens. When will we get on board with the trend?
Lolllll11 hours ago
India has enough qualified doctors to take care of country, In My city we have nearly 50 K doctors & 4000 Hospitals.
preeti6 hours ago
Hats off to the go nment for doing such an ambitious plan. Hopefully they would be successful.
Training doctors in India is not as difficult since there is no AMA like lobby which wants to keep the sry artificially high for doctors. India has a very talented pool.
Peter10 hours ago
Don't worry about this.. nothing will change.. all that will happen is that the po iticians will siphon off all the funds into their own pockets.
Aguirre10 hours ago
po iticians rolling out new welfare programs before ions to buy ves, its business as usual
Anonymous10 hours ago
More importantly, how are they going to pay for it all?
Abi12 hours ago
Oh no please don't do this. This is why US healthcare is a mess. This will only sky rocket cost and give sub standard service. And go nment after go nment will try to fix healthcare to no avail.
luannesrackissmallerthanmine6 hours ago
India, Iran, Syria, Egypt, Israel, Canada, Europe, Jordan, Iraq.....the only country who CAN'T provide healthcare for their people is the USA because our lawmakers are bound and determined to make sure the RICH GET RICHER by profiteering off the backs and suffering of the American People.
Michael11 hours ago
medical is India is an experiment. if i needed medical care and I was in India I would leave and go somewhere else. And yes I have been to India and have first hand knowledge
Pandu12 hours ago
stop giving free stuff to people , that's what is creating burden on country rather invest in creating more jobs / companies or setting up new cities.
WILLIAM5 hours ago
they'll be waiting in line, like I used to wait in Canada. Those lucky to survive we'll get a 5 minutes with a doctor working 12 hr shifts that could not care really if they live or not. Good luck India
steve8 hours ago
ion ploy nothing else
PLC6 hours ago
You want to see what kind of heath care they're going to get?
Watch this Youtube video: qoBYttpiqg8
Anonymous3 hours ago
In India their colleges are Diploma Mills, you can Buy your medical degree or any degree
Rajiv8 hours ago
Don't take Modi seriously, this is all joke same as he did in past. He can just talk and walk.
steve8 hours ago
will somebody tell Modi that Raj Narayan of janta ( a BJP coalition)in 1979 also rolled out a msassive helath care plan only to go nowhere is doing the same