A significant allocation of Rs 950 crore will give GoK health schemes a major shot in the arm, subsequent to the merger of the state’s Arogya Karnataka scheme and the Center’s Ayushman Bharat scheme. The state intends to continue the scheme in 2019-20, along with the Rs 409 crore that will be provided by the central government. Both the central and state governments claim the scheme will be beneficial and provide health coverage to many people, although experts vary in their opinions. Some noted that the insurance scheme will benefit mainly private hospitals. “The state government has committed the same mistake as the central government in putting a large proportion of the healthcare budget in insurance schemes. Rs 950 crore set aside for Ayushman Bharat Arogya Karnataka is going to directly benefit private empaneled hospitals. On the other hand, problems in government facilities to provide secondary care under the scheme will only worsen,” said Akhila Vasan of Karnataka Janaarogya Chaluvali (KJC).
Ayushman Bharat Yojana or Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) or National Health Protection Scheme or ModiCare, is a centrally sponsored scheme that was launched on September 25, 2018 with the aim to cover over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families providing coverage up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization. Dr. Sylvia Karpagam, public health doctor and researcher agrees that these schemes essentially channel funds to private hospitals. “This is a combination of schemes which covers only a few surgeries, leaving some critical surgeries uncovered, leaving people in the lurch. Many people continue to spend from their pockets despite the coverage. The scheme is not evidence-based and is fragmented. Private hospitals are benefiting both from the government and patients as well. Small hospitals are the ones who provide ethical service and they are suffering because of this. This is just leading to disaster,” said Dr. Sylvia. – Deccan Chronicle