19 June, 2021

Poverty’s Handmaiden

Wedded to ‘liberalisation’, India has delivered its public health system to private sharks. This book is a plea to correct this terrible mistake.

Poverty’s Handmaiden

Since 1991, the private sector has dominated India’s healthcare sector. The government’s systematic withdrawal in acco­rdance with economic liberalisation, and policies like land at concessional rates and import duty waivers  created this situation. As a res­ult, Indians pay a heavy price for the lack of public health infrastructure—around 63 million are pushed below the poverty line every year due to treatment costs, says the health ministry. However, neither does Parli­ament get stalled nor is there any pri­metime discussion on the lack of acc­ess to affordable healthcare. The Centre and the states have responded with various health insurance schemes to eliminate this terrible monetary blow. Evidence suggests that except some marginal benefits, these schemes have little impact, but only enrich private sector hospitals and insurance firms. K. Sujatha Rao, with nearly 20 years of experience in health administration and policymaking, rejects this ill-informed policy response and arg­ues for a proactive role for the government as a...

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