The findings show government spending on health as a share of total government expenditure increased to 5.1% from 3.7% between 2013-14 and 2017-18, indicating higher investments in the sector as compared to previous years.
The higher spend by government along with increased share of expenditure in private health insurance has led to a decline in out-of-pocket expenditure (OOPE). Data shows OOPE on health dropped as a percentage of the total health expenditure to below 50%.
In 2017-18, 48.8% of expenditure on health was out-of-pocket, as against 58.7% in 2016-17 and 64.2% in 2013-14. Though OOPE on health has reduced significantly between 2013-14 and 2017-18 as against the reduction during previous years, it’s much higher than the global average of approximately 18% as sudden health emergencies can push poorer households into poverty.
NHA estimates also show an increase in the share of government health expenditure in GDP of the country to 1.3% in 2017-18 from 1.20% in the preceding fiscal year, and from 1.15% in 2013-14. Yet, it remains far below the target of 2.5% of GDP envisaged in the National Health Policy, 2017.
The share of social security expenditure on health, which includes health insurance programme, government-financed health insurance schemes, and medical reimbursements made to government employees increased during 2017-18. Its share in total health expenditure climbed to 9% in 2017-18 from 7.3% in 2016-17 and 6% in 2013-14. The share of foreign aid for health declined to 0.5% from 0.6% the previous year, which government attributes to India’s economic self-reliance.
The 2017-18 estimates suggest enhanced public expenditure on healthcare which has led to decline in per capita out-of-pocket expenditure to Rs 2,097 in 2017-18, against Rs 2,336 in 2013-14.
The government attributes the fall in out-of-pocket expenditure to the increased utilisation of government health facilities and reduction in the cost of services at these facilities.
The share of primary healthcare in the current government expenditure increased to 54.7% in 2017-18 from 51.1% in 2013-14, as per report.
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