NEW DELHI: Extending all support to Bihar for dealing with the AES outbreak, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia tore into the Centre’s flagship Ayushman Bharat scheme which he claimed was a “white elephant.”
“The entire country is distraught and concerned by the visuals being played by the media. The images of children crying and suffering in Bihar’s hospitals have been heartbreaking for all of us. In this time of difficulty, on behalf of the Delhi government, I want to offer any help needed by the Bihar government in tackling this crisis. Delhi can offer help in the form of medical teams, paramedics, ambulances and anything else that may be required,” said Sisodia, who was flanked by health minister Satyendar Jain.
He said the BJP’s flagship health insurance scheme is not practical as what is required is strengthening the healthcare infrastructure and access for all to it. “The scheme is more about paying the insurance companies, than taking care of the health of the people.”
“Unfortunately, this crisis has proven that the scheme is a white elephant. The scheme does not provide healthcare coverage to most citizens since the people owning telephones, two-wheelers or fridges are not covered under the scheme. Moreover, it does not provide coverage for primary healthcare and out-patient treatment,” said Sisodia.
While claiming the Ayushman Bharat merely “enriches insurance companies”, the AAP ministers endorsed mohalla clinics, poly clinics and added that enhancing capacity of existing medical hospitals and building more hospitals was the need of the hour.
Jain wondered why children suffering from AES are not being treated at private hospitals under the Ayushman Bharat. “Most of the children would have qualified under the eligibility requirements of Ayushman Bharat. Yet, we find that all children are being treated at the government hospitals. What has happened to scheme in this case?” he asserted.
Nitish refuses to speak to media
In Delhi to attend the meeting of heads of political parties at Parliament, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar refused to answer media queries on encephalitis deaths in Muzaffarpur. The viral infection has claimed lives of as many as 115 children in Bihar.