Is it preventing affordable healthcare?

No one would ever have thought or predicted that Covid-19 would shake the world to such an extent that every aspect of our lives would be affected, and even changed and redefined. It also proved that no nation, no matter how developed, wealthy and powerful, is invincible and it demolished the notion that these nations would have the best defense for their citizens, keeping in mind the best healthcare system standards that these nations boast of.

There is no question that one area where we can see significant changes is how public health researchers, scientists, medical experts, strategists, healthcare professionals, governments, health associations and the pharmaceutical industry are redefining our health policies and strategies. More often than not, some of these stakeholders have their own varied and sometimes, competing interests to represent.

The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic is an indicator that healthcare systems and overall economic growth are interlinked. In a way, this will compel all interested parties to step up and cooperate. Perhaps no other alternative exists. In the long run, not only such pandemics, but any sort of health disasters could be resolved by countries with healthy, reliable, sensitive and affordable healthcare systems. There are no short cuts, however and the implementation of suitable systems will be a long-lasting and tedious operation.

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Public agencies and private medical service providers around the world should be mindful that they have a duty, by preventive and curative steps to ensure improved health care systems. To consider the willingness of the general public at large to meet the increasing cost of health care, sufficient consideration is warranted. The fact that some state governments (Delhi and Maharashtra) have had to step in to place price limits on the amount to be charged to Covid-19 patients is one indication of the fact that healthcare costs are unaffordable for the population.

In general, it would be of interest to analyze which components of the cost of healthcare have a bearing on the ability of individuals to afford them? We refer to a country-wide survey to understand some of these problems, which will give us some indication and maybe shed light on I how affordable the Indian healthcare system is and (ii) the components of healthcare costs have a negative effect on patients the most.

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