Ayushman Bharat and the Trivialisation of Healthcare

‘Healthcare’ in the modern world, is conveniently but wrongly conflated with ‘medicare’ and is consequently, increasingly being designed to maximise the need for elaborate – often unnecessary – diagnostic ‘tests’, nudging patients towards newer and more expensive interventions even when cheaper options exist, and exponentially increasing the consumption of medicines.

The purpose of healthcare, ideally, should be to create and maintain conditions under which one can lead a healthy life without having to depend on doctors and hospitals and consuming medicines. In this commentary, on the state of healthcare in India, Amitabha Pande, a retired Indian Administrative Service officer, points out how the latest government intervention distorts the role of the state and channels public funds into private profits. He also suggests three significant shifts in focus that would enable the Indian state to re-prioritize its policies in its pursuit to provide universal health and medical care.

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