ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Changing Inequalities in Utilisation of Inpatient Care in Rural India: Evidence from the NSS

Contrary to the widespread belief of increasing inequality in the health sector, this paper observes that economic status-related inequality in inpatient care utilisation has declined in recent years. However, a lowering of inequality has not made the situation more equitable for the poor because of a high increase in the rate of inpatient care utilisation, a decline in dependence on government hospitals and a steep hike in the cost of inpatient care. In a majority of states, the average cost of inpatient care, even at government hospitals, has grown at a much higher rate than the prices of essential food items. The hardships faced by the rural poor to meet healthcare expenses show that the net result has been a welfare loss for them.

SPECIAL ARTICLE

Changing Inequalities in Utilisation of Inpatient Care in Rural India: Evidence from the NSS

Subrata Mukherjee, Jean-Frederic Levesque

Contrary to the widespread belief of increasing inequality in the health sector, this paper observes that economic status-related inequality in inpatient care utilisation has declined in recent years. However, a lowering of inequality has not made the situation more equitable for the poor because of a high increase in the rate of inpatient care utilisation, a decline in dependence on government hospitals and a steep hike in the cost of inpatient care. In a majority of states, the average cost of inpatient care, even at government hospitals, has grown at a much higher rate than the prices of essential food items. The hardships faced by the rural poor to meet healthcare expenses show that the net result has been a welfare loss for them.

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