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According to a report, the cost of healthcare is driving millions of Indians into poverty. / Picture from INDIAN EXPRESS


Earlier this month, The Lancet published a paper calling for a radical transformation of the architecture of India’s healthcare delivery system if it is to achieve the government’s vision of assuring health for all. The paper documented India’s progress on major health indicators in the past decade, but also its many deficiencies. The most disturbing indicator of these deficiencies is the observation that the cost of healthcare is driving millions of Indians into poverty. Let us pause to consider the implication of this statement.

In a country where the primary goal of economic development is to help raise people out of poverty, healthcare is driving millions into poverty. Whereas, in other countries, investment in healthcare is recognised as a route to promote growth by enhancing their citizens’ capabilities to be productive, healthcare in India is now one of the leading causes of poverty. We are, in simple terms, out of step with the rest of the world, not only the developed countries whose ranks we aspire to join, but also with other countries like ours.

It is common to lay the entire blame, or at least the lion’s share, for this on the government. This is certainly true to some extent, but the reality is that many…continue reading



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