Article

Health and Health Care Policy in India: The Case for Quality of Care

Jishnu Das and Jeffrey Hammer

in The Oxford Handbook of the Indian Economy

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199734580
Published online November 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199734580.013.0014

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Health and Health Care Policy in India: The Case for Quality of Care

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  • Economics
  • Economic Development and Growth
  • Health, Education, and Welfare

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This article argues that despite high private expenditures on health in India, policy discourse reflects a constant preoccupation with the public sector. Even historically, envisioning a universal system of health care, the main focus of public health policy—like schooling policy—has been better “access” to public primary health care centers. This focus has been unduly narrow with little attention paid to understanding the behavior of health providers, or conducting a serious outcome evaluation of any of the components of the link from which health services can be availed, be they primary care centers or superspecialty hospitals. The article argues that “access” is not the binding constraint in the provision of primary health care in India. The problem is the quality of care provided both in the public and private sector. It also suggests how standard measures of “quality” can be directly counterproductive. The key focus should be on how health policy affects the quality of services and how to make this a starting point for future policy formulations.

Keywords: health care policy; public health policy; primary health care centers; health providers; superspecialty hospitals; policy formulations

Article.  17898 words. 

Subjects: Economics ; Economic Development and Growth ; Health, Education, and Welfare

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