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India Plans To Increase Annual Health Care Spending With Aim Of Providing Free Care To Citizens

“With its health-care system increasingly eclipsed by rivals, India has a plan to nearly double public spending on health over the next five years,” a goal that would “lift annual spending on health to 2.5 percent of the country’s economic output, from 1.4 percent,” the Washington Post reports. The scheme is “aimed at giving free medicine to all Indians at government facilities, setting up free ambulances in rural areas, doubling the number of trained health workers, and lifting millions of young children and women out of chronic malnutrition and preventable deaths,” the newspaper writes.

Though “many experts have been advocating for decades” for such a program, “already critics are wondering if the government will live up to its promise, or if throwing money at the problem without reforming the health-care delivery system from top to bottom will make much of a difference,” the Post states, noting, “In recent years, India has watched with alarm as countries such as China, Egypt, Mexico and Brazil raced ahead, and as its performance on child health and infant mortality was overtaken even by much of sub-Saharan Africa” (Lakshmi, 3/9).