Editorial Analysis || The public-private gap in health care

• There are huge technological gaps in government hospitals which have since the 1980s.

• NITI Aayog’s Three Year Action Agenda recommends the government to focus on preventive care rather than curative care.

• It advises the government to play the role of regulating the health sector rather than focusing on providing health care.

• This means the system of private health care for those who can afford it and government care for those who cannot will continue.

Initiatives taken by Government

• The new Ayushman Bharat health scheme to provide secondary and tertiary care to socioeconomically deprived has a cap of ₹5 lakh per family per year.

• However, Human organ transplants cannot be achieved in this amount.

• Transplanting a human organ is not a single event, but a life-long process.

• Transplantation needs expensive infrastructure and trained human resources.

What are the Problems?

• Today, Health care in India is obviously not egalitarian and equitable.

• Governments have been giving subsidies to private players, especially to
corporate hospitals.

• Private hospital chains in India have entered every segment of medical care, including primary and secondary care and diagnostics.

• Most have large investors from abroad and some are effectively controlled by foreign investors.

• Governments have been increasingly dependent on the private sector to deliver health care.

Is there any feasible solution to overcome?

• Inequitable distribution of medical services has led to distrust of the public in
government hospitals.

• The poor expect to get from them what the rich get in private hospitals which is not
possible with present policies.

• The morale among medical personnel in public hospitals is low.

• The perception that doctors in the private sector are much better than those in the
public sector has effected the professional image of medical personnel in public hospitals.

• Every possible medical intervention should be available to every citizen.

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