Budget 2008 and health care: less of the same?
What is remarkable about the Budget 2008-2009 as far as health care is concerned is that there is nothing remarkable about it. It continues the pattern that has been set in place for well over four decades now, of providing schemes which at best can be called hoodwinking the people. Thus government spending on health as a proportion of gross domestic product (GDP) will remain about one per cent (central and state), well below the promised three per cent of the GDP (mentioned in the National Health Policy) and the five per cent suggested by the World Health Organization. This year we see some increase in allotment to the National Rural Health Mission and some noise about a similar urban mission, to list two of the pick and choose proposals. When the outlays are adjusted for inflation, it is a moot point whether there will be a marginal rise or, in fact, a fall. What is clear is that very little has changed.
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