NITI Aayog’s Prescription for Health Sector

  Aug 06, 2020

NITI Aayog’s Prescription for Health Sector

What is news?

Government think tank NITI Aayog released a report ‘Health Systems for a New India: Building Blocks—Potential Pathways to Reforms’. The report has drawn from best practices of countries as diverse as Cambodia, Thailand, China, Russia, UK, US among the others for India to learn from.

With insights to transform the Indian health system in the twenty-first century, the report presents a preliminary menu of strategic choices available before India to reform its healthcare system. 

What are key areas which NITI AYOG report discussed?

The report identified five focus areas of future health system:

1.  To deliver on unfinished public health agenda,

2.  Change health financing away from out of pocket so spend into large insurers,

3.  Integrate service delivery vertically and horizontally,

4.  Empower citizens to become better buyers of health,

5.  Harness the power of digital health.

What are major lacunas in Indian health systems according to report?

1.  The report on the outset criticizes multiplicity of health schemes  

2.  Even among organized players, there are multiple schemes.

3.  Multiplicity of purchasing platforms, apart from fragmenting risk pools into sub-optimal sizes, prevents standardization of purchasing procedures and imposes a huge compliance burden on the providers.

4.  At a systems level, overcoming the challenges of fragmentation, across healthcare financing and service delivery, will help us optimize both quality and access.

What are recommendation and Best practices suggested by it?

1.  Niti Aayog has recommended that health system financing structure should be changed in such a way that predominant undesirable out-of-pocket expenditure is reduced and spending is directed towards larger risk-pools with strong strategic purchasing capabilities.

2.  It has stressed on best practices adopted by Suvarna Arogya Suraksha Trust of Karnataka launched in 2010, which went on to empanel hospitals from neighboring states, for patients living in border areas for their state health insurance scheme and are now aiming for providing the health scheme for their entire 6.4 crore population. Karnataka is also looking at bringing all schemes under a single umbrella.

3.  Another example, that has been cited for its best practices is Meghalaya.

4.  PM-JAY should be considered with an eye on its potential to influence the overall healthcare transformation in India, beyond its current explicit mandate.