The much awaited Union Budget 2017-18 on the back of demonetisation has a balanced approach to the healthcare sector. A 27% increase in outlay for healthcare is a positive move by the finance minister but still misses the 2% of GDP healthcare spend by the Govt.
The reduction in the cost of life-saving drugs and widening the availability of essential drugs is also in the right direction. The announcement of 5000 new PG seats in medicine should have been backed by significant reforms and policy change in medical education.
The budget is once again silent on giving boost to healthcare infrastructure. Like low cost housing, healthcare should have been given infrastructure status.This budget is at best incremental for the healthcare sector and once again misses the much needed reformist attention.