NEW DELHI: Observing that the Centre's ambitious Ayushman Bharat healthcare scheme achieved a paradigm shift within three months of its launch, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said it was “unfortunate” that some states chose to opt out for reasons of political expediency.
In a recent Facebook post, the Defence Minister said it was unfortunate that even after seven decades of independence, the desire for seamless and affordable health schemes remained elusive for a large section of the population and expressed hope that “Modicare” would help people across the country.
“Once fully implemented, PM-JAY will thus become the world’s largest fully government-financed health protection scheme. In this context, it is very unfortunate that some states have chosen to opt out of the scheme for reasons of political expediency,” the Defence Minister, who has been visiting hospitals to see the functioning of the scheme, said.
The Union government had launched on September 2018 the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana, which aims to provide a cover of Rs 5 lakh per family per year and is likely to benefit more than 10 crore poor families across the country.
The Defence Minister pointed out that the scheme has already achieved a paradigm shift in healthcare within three months of its launch and has managed to provide succour to the poorest of the poor and the middle class. Over 8 lakh beneficiaries have been admitted to empanelled hospitals and claims worth Rs 662 crore have been settled.
Pradhanmantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (PM-JAY) plans to cover over 10.74 crore poor and vulnerable families (approximately 50 crore beneficiaries) according to the socio-economic caste census. It provides a cover of up to Rs 5 lakhs per family per year which includes 1400 pre-defined packages spread over 23 specialities that standardise the entire process.
Sitharaman said that personalized beneficiary identification letters signed by the Prime Minister with a family card are being sent to all the identified families in the villages and towns across the country.
“So far more than 7.5 crore letters have been dispatched and are on their way to the beneficiaries’ doorsteps. The same was achieved by the robust IT systems and by preparing teams which were then deployed phase wise so that states can move smoothly towards the implementation of the scheme. Robust IT systems have also been deployed in Hospital empanelment module and Hospital Transaction Management system to ensure transparency and ease of operations,” she said.
The Defence Minister said that every year, 4.6 per cent of the population was pushed below the poverty line as people spent a large proportion of their income and savings, borrowing money or selling their assets to meet their health care needs.
“PM-JAY will reduce catastrophic expenditure for hospitalization which will help in mitigating the financial risk so that every citizen can access the quality health services without facing financial hardships,” the minister wrote.