Healthcare Budget Expectations 2019

healthcare budget quote 2019 image

From re-inventing the healthcare delivery model to implementing health information technology to incentivizing investors for setting hospitals across smaller locations, the healthcare sector also demands considerations like exemption on GST or lower tax rates for wellness resorts and marketing aggregators and revised medical reimbursement deduction from the current INR 15,000.

NewsBarons connects with leading healthcare startups and experts to understand their expectations from the upcoming budget 2019.

The biggest challenge in the Indian Healthcare sector is the delivery model

Nilesh Jain, Metaform Ventures

Nilesh Jain, Clinivantage Healthcare Technologies

The biggest challenge in the Indian Healthcare sector is the delivery model, especially in rural India. We need to start investing in training more primary health providers and put more emphasis on delivering quality healthcare options and everyday basic medicine to those who do not have access to it due to the lack of infrastructure, medical practitioners and qualified primary healthcare attendants. We must prioritize on improving healthcare outcomes, building primary healthcare infrastructure, lowering costs via technology and addressing accessibility, approach & affordability.

I also see the need in strong support on the implementation of health information technology, which has the potential to save the India billions of dollars in health care costs each year. Increased investments, incentives and tax benefits on primary care infrastructure and technology is important for scale in India.

Budget should support expansion on digital healthcare, data flow, & invest in new data-driven tools and policies that reward improving the quality and value of care. Doctors, hospitals and entrepreneurs are demonstrating that startups in healthcare can bring smarter, better, more accessible and more proactive care; showcasing the best way to improve quality and control health care costs.

Medical reimbursement deduction needs to be revised

Munira Loliwala, EMPI, Teamlease Services

With huge expectations from 2018 on regulated rates, revision of tax on R&D and such other budget norms, currently the segment needs a much simpler and ground level correction that meets the increasing weight age on medical And Healthcare from the Indian Market. Extensive importance to Preventive Health checkups is necessary that can eradicate and analyse high prone diseases, thus leading to the first ask in increase of tax redemption under this header that recreates the need of prevention amongst people. This currently stands at 5000 only.

Given the significant rise in cost inflation index in general (70 per cent over the last 5 years) and medical inflation in particular, the medical reimbursement deduction needs to be revised and the annual limit needs to be enhanced from the current 15000 per annum. Largely this budget should focus on enhancing the benefits and passing benefits to employers for further investing in employees health care and preventive medical treatments.

Streamline Taxes & Duties to make Medical Devices affordable Medical Technology Association of India (MTaI)

Pavan Choudary, MTaI

MTaI’s 8-point agenda to Finance Ministry for inclusion in Budget FY’20

1. Reduction in Custom Duties to 2.5
2. Parity in Customs Duty & GST on Spare Parts
3. Tax Holiday for R&D
4. Reduction in Minimum Alternate Tax
5. Abolish GST on Trials and Samples
6. GST on Healthcare Services
7. Claimable Expenditure on CSR
8. Tax Incentives on Exports

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Health sector demands incentives for setting up hospitals in smaller towns and cities

Nivesh Khandelwal, Founder and CEO LetsMDNivesh Khandelwal, LetsMD

Health sector demands incentives for setting up hospitals in smaller towns and cities and that is the primary demand, the industry is looking up to in this year’s budget. There should be easy loans available for creating viable healthcare infrastructure in smaller towns and cities. Also, the priority sector status must be accorded to the healthcare industry.There is dire need to incentivize and regulate setting up of medical colleges to ensure quality manpower is created. Without adequate medical colleges, quality doctors and support staff, India’s health care mission will not succeed. Khandelwal also requested government to consider credit guarantee, since payments take time to come to hospital under government insurance schemes, government should incentivize /give credit guarantee to lenders who are willing to fund the receivables.Government should also come up with medical innovation fund separately to boost health tech start ups,” he demanded. “We are looking forward to a positive turn out from the Union Budget 2019 for start-ups and emerging entrepreneurs, especially in the health tech domain.

We expect policies that will make healthcare coverage affordable and accessible to common people

 KK Aggarwal, President of Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) KK Aggarwal, Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI)

The union budget last year focused on the Ayushman Bharat Programme – the new flagship National Health Protection Scheme. This was aimed at providing a health insurance cover of Rs 5 lakh a family per annum with an expected benefit to 10 crore vulnerable families — with approximately 50 crore beneficiaries.

We hope that the budget this year will place more focus on Ayushman Bharat by creating benefits under the scheme addressing people who are not covered yet but eligible and also cover additional 10% given reservations form upper class.

The government should ensure 100% universal insurance coverage in the country. Another aspect that needs attention is the provision of enough subsidies for Ayushman only hospitals wanting to become a part of the scheme.

The government, we hope, will also address prevention and harm reduction to a large extent apart from the social determinants of health to achieve the desired results and sustain them. A common budget allocated for various health programmes will ensure more intersectoral cooperation and knowledge sharing. This will also avoid any overlap in programmes in these ministries to a large extent and result in saving of financial outflow.

All in all, we look forward to a budget that focuses on overall health and wellness thereby contributing to better productivity. Positive policies that will make healthcare more simple, affordable and accessible to common people are the need of the hour.

Exemption on GST for wellness resorts and marketing aggregators

Vijay Kumar Karai-founder and CEO-Ayur UniverVijay Kumar Karai, AyurUniverse

With Ayurveda gaining popularity outside India, people have started understanding the potential of the traditional wellness industry. The growth of this industry will lead to a domino effect across the country, thus leading to greater employment opportunities, government revenue through taxation, as well as foreign exchange revenues.The Government needs to create an exemption on GST or lower the tax rates for wellness resorts and marketing aggregators like AyurUniverse, in order to boost the Wellness Industry forward. While at present only Ayurvedic hospitals are exempt from GST, this umbrella needs to be extended to include many more organizations involved in the Wellness Industry.

Seema Arora, National Marketing Head, ResMed India.Seema Arora, ResMed India

The pre-budget memorandum proposed by CII, to reduce custom duty will make the innovation more affordable to the patients, especially in medical devices such as CPAP (Continuous Positive Air Pressure) and NIVs (Non- invasive ventilators) which are used to cure the most underdiagnosed disease like Sleep Apnea and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases).

Further, the recent set up of National Medical Device Promotion Council (NMDPC) will boost the manufacturing, attract investments and promote exports of the sector sustaining the Make in India initiative and help India achieve global position in Medical Device sector