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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 531  

Universal health coverage: Need or necessity in India

Department of Public Health Dentistry, Dr. D.Y. Patil Dental College and Hospital, Pimpri, Pune, Maharashtra, India

Date of Web Publication25-Jun-2014

Correspondence Address:
Saurabh Pramod Kakade
Department of Public Health Dentistry, Dr. D.Y. Patil Dental College and Hospital, Pimpri, Pune - 411 018, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0975-2870.135301

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How to cite this article:
Kakade SP, Thakkar K. Universal health coverage: Need or necessity in India. Med J DY Patil Univ 2014;7:531

How to cite this URL:
Kakade SP, Thakkar K. Universal health coverage: Need or necessity in India. Med J DY Patil Univ [serial online] 2014 [cited 2024 Feb 24];7:531. Available from:


Health is a state affair but in India it is highly unregulated. Out-of-pocket expenditure toward health is highest amongst the Asian countries. [1],[2] The overall expenditure by the government sector (central, state and local) is inadequate to meet the health needs of the people. [3] The private health sector is expanding and commands major share in terms of the total health care providers in India. [3] The total health care spending by Government of India is astonishing, as it spends about 5% of the gross domestic product (GDP) and not about a percent on the public health care expenditure of the GDP. [1],[4] The Indian public health care system is Poignant due to inadequate funds and poor infrastructure. [3] Quality care is questionable and accessibility and high cost of treatment are the foremost barriers to the large sections of the rural population. High treatment cost with no formal type of insurance from the government compel many to visit private practitioners resulting in high out-of-pocket expenditure. [2],[3] A major policy initiative by the Government of India to cater the health needs of its people was needed as a result of which the Government of India in 2007 had taken steps to launch a national health insurance scheme. [5] Though it is in its initial stage, some doubt remains as to whether it can resolve the unmet health needs of the masses. The formal acceptance is needed by the states and should begin with the enrollment process and real implementation of the insurance scheme. The Government of India has included "Universal Health Coverage" in its 12 th 5 year plan to improve access to the health services without incurring financial burden to the people. [6] It envisages quality medical care for treatment, proper hospitalization and identified network of health care providers. [6] Financing of the premium payments should involve major share from the central government, followed by the state government and a small amount from the beneficiaries, it to be a success. [6] Universal health coverage should be a "necessity" and a "right" rather than being just the "need" for the people of India.

  References Top

1.Gill HS, Shahi AK. Rashtriya Swsthya Bima Yojna in India-implementation and impact. Int J Multidiscip Res 2010;2:155-73.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Prinja S, Bahuguna P, Pinto AD, Sharma A, Bharaj G, Kumar V, et al. The cost of universal health care in India: A model based estimate. PLoS One 2012;7:e30362.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Reddy KS, Patel V, Jha P, Paul VK, Kumar AK, Dandona L, et al. Towards achievement of universal health care in India by 2020: A call to action. Lancet 2011;377:760-8.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Singh Z. Universal health coverage for India by 2022: A utopia or reality? Indian J Community Med 2013;38:70-3.  Back to cited text no. 4
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5.Govinda Rao M, Choudhury M. Health Care Financing Reforms in India. National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, March 2012; Working paper no. 2012/100.  Back to cited text no. 5
6.Thakur J. Key recommendations of high-level expert group report on universal health coverage for India. Indian J Community Med 2011;36:S84-5.  Back to cited text no. 6


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