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Health Ministry Says Substantial Reduction In Out-Of-Pocket Expenditure, Rejects Reports Questioning Data

The recent NHA estimates (2018-19) show a substantial reduction in out-of-pocket expenditure (OOPE), reaffirming the government's commitment towards easing the citizens' financial burden.

Covid-19 recovery rate has reached nearly 70 per cent, the Union Health Ministry said.
The NHA provides detailed information on expenditure incurred within the health sector of the country. PTI Photo

The 2018-19 National Health Accounts estimates show a substantial reduction in out-of-pocket expenditure (OOPE), reaffirming the government's commitment towards easing citizens' financial burden, the health ministry said Friday, rejecting reports that questioned the accuracy of data.

The ministry termed such media reports "misleading and incorrect". In a statement, the ministry said the criticism of NHA 2018-19 is a "typical prima facie example of ignoring facts and sound reason" and leaving the mantle of justification to the others. 

The NHA provides detailed information on expenditure incurred within the health sector of the country.  "The recent NHA estimates (2018-19) show a substantial reduction in out-of-pocket expenditure (OOPE), reaffirming the government's commitment towards easing the citizens' financial burden," the statement said.  

It said calling this data a "mirage" by one expert of health economics working in a private Indian University and quoted in certain sections of media is devoid of justification and rational basis. The report published in a national daily said the NHA projects a substantial reduction in not just out-of-pocket expenditure but a reduction in absolute terms 2017-19. The report then quoted health finance experts to claim such a reduction is not possible.  

"While the same experts had unequivocally accepted the 2014 data, their assessment of the 2017-18 as 'doubtful' is truly arbitrary," the ministry's statement said. "Such criticism is based on flawed juxtaposition and selective picking of data to further their specious argument. Formulations like, 'seems problematic/seems unlikely' as basis of a claim, is nothing if not hypothetical disagreement," the statement said. The increase in utilisation of government health facilities has been an important aspect of NSO 2017-18, it said.

(With PTI inputs)

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