Post Budget reaction on Healthcare Sector : Union Budget 2018

What the Budget 2018-19 has for the health sector

Dr KK Aggarwal : Boost of insurance sector
  • “National health policy 2017 has envisioned ‘health and wellness centres’ as foundation of India’s  health. The creation of 1.5 lakh centres will bring health care closer to the homes of the people. These will provide comprehensive health care including NCDs and maternal and health services. And also provide free essential drugs and diagnostic tests. 1200 crore allocated for this flagship  project.”
  • “Flagship ‘National health protection scheme’ launched to cover 10 crore poor and vulnerable families meaning 50 crore beneficiaries by providing 5 lakh Rs per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization. This will be the world’s largest govt. funded national health program.”

These two new initiatives under Ayushman Bharat program will build a new India 2022 and ensure or enhance productivity and wellbeing and avert impoverishment. We are progressing towards universal health coverage.

  • Rs 600 crore allocated to provide nutritional support to all TB patients @ Rs 500/month for the duration of their treatment.
  • To increase accessibility of quality medical education, 24 new govt medical colleges and hospitals will be set up by upgrading existing district hospitals in the country. This would ensure at least one medical college for every 3 parliamentary constituencies and at least one govt medical college in each state of the country.
  • To make villages ODF, the govt is launching ‘Galvanising organic bio agro resources dhan – Govardhan’ for the management and conversion of cattle dung and solid waste in farms to compost fertilizer and bio gas and bio CNG.
  • No change in personal income tax slabs in this budge
  • Cess in health and education increased from 3% to 4%.
  • Mediclaim – relief of 50, 000 for senior citizen
Dr. Prathap Reddy, Chairman, Apollo Hospitals  

“My heartiest congratulations to this government for investing in creating a swasth bharat by launching the Ayushman Bharat programme. Such ambitious out of the box thinking was a burning need of the hour and the government has not disappointed. The initiative to cover 10 crore families with 5 lakh per family/per year WITH INSURANCE COVER FOR SECONDARY AND TERTIARY HEALTHCARE will be a gamechanger.”

Suneeta Reddy, MD, Apollo Hospital

“The Union Budget 2018 has taken a huge step in making healthcare affordable and accessible by launching the world’s largest healthcare scheme. It is indeed heartening that 40% of India’s population will be covered under a insurance scheme. The payor problem demanded urgent attention and the government has paid heed. If the Flagship National Health Protection Scheme to cover 10 Cr poor and vulnerable families with upto 5 Lakhs per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation is properly implemented and monitored we would have taken an important step in creating a Swasth Bharat. Effectively this initiative which amounts t USD 800 billion dollars tops even the US’ Medicaid programme which amounts to USD 550 billion.”

Sujay Shetty, Partner & Leader – Life Sciences, PwC India

“We see the move towards the massive health care coverage proposed in the National Healthcare             Programme as a big boost to the pharma industry.”

Bhargav Dasgupta, MD & CEO – ICICI Lombard General Insurance

“The Government has focused on inclusive measures in the budget , targeting critical areas of agriculture , education , health, power among others. On health insurance, the introduction of Rs. 5 lakh cover for families and increase in medical insurance tax exemption for senior citizens indicate the focus of policy makers to ensure adequate protection against health hazards for India’s populace.”

Dr. Rana Mehta, Partner & Leader – Healthcare, PwC India

“The Government has also recognized the impact of medical inflation and increased the amount exempt from tax for senior citizens to 1 lakh from 60,000 under section 80 DDB and medical insurance deduction under section 80 D to 50,000 from 30,000.”

Ashok Varma, Partner and Leader – Social Sector, PwC India

“Nearly four time increase in allocation for health insurance through National Health Protection Scheme is one of the biggest highlights of the budget. Most of the social sector schemes have seen a marginal increase in allocation keeping with trend of actual expenditure. There is no major surprises or radical policy changes in the announcements made.”

Dr. Manoj Luthra, CEO, Jaypee Hospital, Noida.

“We congratulate the government on presenting a holistic budget for the common man and it’s heartening to see that the government has taken initiatives to deliver on its promise of excellence in healthcare by announcing the world’s largest government funded healthcare program. By providing 5 lakh rupees as medical insurance cover per year to crores of poor Indian families, the cost burden of quality healthcare will be lessened.


”The spotlight on the secondary and tertiary medical initiatives is a credit to the public healthcare  system. About 1.5 lakh health centres will be on the forefront to make healthcare more accessible than ever.”

Mr. Arindam Haldar, CEO, SRL Diagnostics

“I congratulate the government for focusing on common man of India in this budget by announcing various schemes across sectors. The announcement of universal health insurance at Rs 5 lakh medical cover per year for 10 crore(s) poor families across the country, is an appreciable  step. Also, the allocation of Rs 1,200 crore(s) for health and wellness centres clearly indicates that health sector has received utmost priority in this budget.

It would be a welcome step if out-patient diagnostics costs/coverage is covered in this limit.  The absence of coverage for outpatient care and pre-existing diseases is an impediment to a comprehensive and affordable health insurance cover.

Also, specific focus on the diagnostics sector would have been of great benefit to supplement primary healthcare machinery. Nevertheless, we welcome the various health initiatives announced  by the government in which limelight has been shed on the alarming rise of non-communicable and communicable diseases in India.”

Sameer Sah, Associate Partner, Khaitan & Co

“Increase in tax allowances for health insurance will increase the opportunity on healthcare services delivery. This is an indirect fillip for not only insurance service providers but also healthcare services providers”

“The FM highlighted the availability of low cost medicines and the like. The glorifying tenor should lead to a reasonable presumption that there will be further action on the price control front going forward”

“The National Health Protection Scheme will be an interesting initiative – private players, if allowed to participate in the scheme, will have an additional opportunity to service more patients.”

Bhavik Narsana, Partner, Khaitan & Co.

“The national health scheme of the government is a much needed and great initiative. This is a positive for the healthcare and pharma industry.”

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Autor: Dr. Jaswant Singh Puri, Doctor of Letters (Honoris Causa), Social Activist, Punjab Rattan, Member, Dewan