The Congress government in Chhattisgarh has termed the BJP-led Center’s ambitious scheme Ayushman Bharat as flawed and declared to bring its own in place of Pradhan Mantri Jan-arogya Yojana, which is aimed to provide annual health cover of Rs 5 lakh per family. Modicare, as popularly known, was launched by PM Narendra Modi in September 2018, will be replaced by the state government’s universal healthcare scheme with better modalities of implementation. Chhattisgarh will be the fifth state after Odisha, Delhi, Telangana and West Bengal to have refused the Ayushmann Bharat scheme. The state health minister TS Singhdeo stated that he is not in favor of the Ayushman Bharat, which is an insurance scheme where the expenses (on insurance) are more but the output is less. “We are going more holistically plan to prepare a universal healthcare scheme that will incur fewer expenses as compared to Ayushman yojana where there is no allocation for treatment of over 100 diseases, rather the money is meant for an ailing person who gets operated for critical diseases”, the state health minister TS Singhdeo said.
The BJP, however, regretted and questioned the objective of the Congress government. “The decision is anti-people and is being done with malicious intent. Chhattisgarh was among the first to implement Ayushmann Bharat Yojana to cater to health coverage of over 10 lakh people who can’t afford high treatment cost. Without any concrete vision and policy, the Congress government is pulling out of much-acclaimed welfare scheme merely because it has been either launched by the Center or the earlier state government”, the leader of opposition Dharampal Kaushik opined. The Congress government is working on the budgetary provisions for the universal healthcare scheme that according to the health department will provide free diagnosis, treatment and even medicine. It is likely to be announced during the upcoming budget session of the legislative assembly next month. Evaluating the Ayushmann Bharat Yojana, Singhdeo stated the individual family rate given under the insurance is Rs 1100, which is high.
The Center’s share is Rs 660 while remaining Rs 440 the state has to cough up under the scheme, which according to the health minister is more restricted to treating serious ailments covering an only small percentage of the population while the insurance is being done for the 42 lakh families at Rs 1100 per family. “That means the state will be giving over Rs 100 crore to the insurance company. But the hospitals don’t get the amount on the treatment undertaken in the hospitals and the company consequently turns down to accept the treatment cost under the smart card”, the minister said. The Congress party in its Janghoshna Patra (election manifesto) has pledged for quality and affordable healthcare for all – rich or poor, urban or rural. – New Indian Express