‘Move health to Concurrent list’

Boost healthcare spending to 2.5% of GDP, set up DFI: Singh

Health should be shifted to the Concurrent list under the Constitution, and a developmental finance institution (DFI) dedicated to healthcare investments set up, Fifteenth Finance Commission Chairman N.K. Singh said on Friday.

Making a case for enhancing government spending on health to 2.5% of GDP by 2025, Mr. Singh said primary healthcare should be a fundamental commitment of all States in particular and should be allocated at least two-thirds of such spending.

Bringing health into the Concurrent list would give the Centre greater flexibility to enact regulatory changes and reinforce the obligation of all stakeholders towards providing better healthcare.

Addressing the NATHEALTH summit, he said the health sector was in dire need of a DFI similar to the one being set up to stimulate infrastructure investments.

“Such a DFI would increase healthcare access in tier-2 and tier-3 cities and also come in with technical assistance that ensures proper usage of funds,” he said.

He also emphasised the importance of universalising healthcare insurance as a large section of the society still remained uncovered.

“While the PMJAY covers the bottom two income quintiles, commercial insurance largely covers top-income quintile, thereby creating a ‘missing middle’ class in between.

“This refers to people in the middle two income quintiles, where the population is not rich enough to afford commercial insurance and not poor enough to be covered under government-sponsored health insurance schemes,” the Commission’s Chairman pointed out.

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