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India’s Health Spend Just Over 1 Percent of GDP

India currently spends a little over 1 percent of GDP on health, far below Singapore which has the lowest public spend on health at 2.2 percent of GDP among countries with significant universal health coverage (UHC) service, according latest National Health Profile (NHP) data. India’s per capita public expenditure on health increased from ₹621 in 2009-10 to ₹1112 (around USD 16 at current exchange rate) in 2015-16. However, it is still nominal, compared to other countries. Switzerland spends USD 6944 on health per capita, whereas the US spends USD 4802 and UK spends USD 3500. But this could change as the center plans to launch its ambitious National Health Protection SchemE (NHPS)- Ayushman Bharat – to cover over 10 crore poor families with an annual health cover of ₹5 lakh per family. Modicare, as it is called, is billed to be the world’s largest such government-run insurance scheme.

According to NHP (2018), around 43 crore individuals or 34 percent of the population were covered under any health insurance in 2016-17. Launching the NHP, health minister JP Nadda said NHPS will significantly bring down the out of pocket expenditure on health. Though the latest NHP data do not give figures for out of pocket expenditure, WHO’s health financing profile for 2017 shows 67.78 percent of total expenditure on health in India was paid out of pocket. The world average is 18.2 percent. Total public expenditure on health in 2015-16 was ₹140,054 crore. – TOI