Weeks After Finance Commission Report Slams PMJAY, Research Paper Says it is Once in a Generation Health Program

Weeks after a report commissioned by the Finance Commission slammed the government’s flagship Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Scheme for being “expensive”, a scientific analysis of the project by health economists from India and Australia has hailed the government for launching the “once in a generation health program.” The paper published, last week in the journal Plos Medicine, however, has warned against the issue of misgovernance and quality control in public and private sectors. Public health economists noted that while there are significant challenges, “Ayushman Bharat PMJAY presents a chance to tackle long-term and embedded shortcomings in governance, quality control, and stewardship and to accelerate India’s progress towards the stated goal of healthcare provision.”

The researchers are attached with the George Institute of Global Health in Sydney and New Delhi and Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education & Research, Chandigarh. PMJAY, launched by the Narendra Modi government in September 2018 aims to provide financial health protection for 50 crore Indians by assuring hospitalization coverage of up to Rs 5 lakh.  “The success of the program will rely on a reformed and adequately resourced public sector to lead implementation, delivery and monitoring of the scheme,” the researchers noted. Blake Angell, one of the researchers, said that monitoring the role of private players is important as the “experience in a range of countries has found private providers are more likely to violate medical standards.” Vivekanand Jha of GIGH, New Delhi, who also teaches at Oxford University said the process of delivery must be overseen by a system that sits in the public sector. – New Indian Express

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