Centre to set benchmarks in health care cost

Kochi, Dec 5 : The union government, in collaboration with the health care industry, plans to find out the actual cost of treatment for diseases and fix a benchmark to make treatment affordable in the country.

Around 40 percent of people end up in debts after hospitalisation, a top health official said.

A committee comprising industry representatives has been tasked with benchmarking treatment costs, said additional secretary in the health ministry C.K. Mishra.

"Affordability is a big question and where should we fix the benchmark? We cannot do it based on the highly costly treatment in the private sector nor base it on the free health care delivery in the public sector," he said in the keynote address at the valedictory session of the first Global Health Conference on Social Marketing and Franchising here Thursday.

The official lamented that private sector interventions in the primary sector were very low, though there was much intervention at the tertiary level, at least in urban areas.

"The private sector is not yet ready to participate at the primary level and the government role is to fill this gap," he said.

"The idea of free medicines to all is good but we have to make sure that it continues. We need to look at practical solutions to make it sustainable," he said.

--IANS (Posted on 05-12-2013)

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