Universal healthcare scheme to be rolled out in Chhattisgarh as alternative to Ayushman Bharat, says TS Deo

Raipur: The Chhattisgarh government is expected to soon roll out its Universal Healthcare Scheme as an alternative for the Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (PMJAY), better known as Ayushman Bharat, the central government’s flagship health insurance scheme, state health minister TS Singh Deo said.

Speaking of state government’s Universal Health Scheme (UHS), the senior Congress leader and the Chhattisgarh health minister on Thursday told ANI: “Health services should be the right of citizens like the Right to Information, Right to Work, Right to Food. This is what we want to implement in Chhattisgarh.”

The Congress in its poll manifesto for the state assembly elections in 2018 had promised to launch a universal healthcare scheme in the state. After coming to power the Congress-led government in the state had announced its plans to replace PMJAY with its universal healthcare scheme. Doing so will make the state the first in the country to implement the universal healthcare scheme.

Incidentally, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is scheduled to interact with health professionals at a meeting in Raipur on Friday.

Underlining the difference of Ayushman Bharat scheme with UHS, Deo said: “Ayushman Bharat is an insurance-based model in which taxpayers money is given to Insurance companies. We are of the view that instead of insurance companies where some irregularities are reported, we should provide quality healthcare to people based on our infrastructure.”

Deo alleged that only Rs 50,000 is covered in Ayushman Bharat instead of Rs 5 lakh.

“In Ayushmaan Bharat, your OPD treatment is not covered. You need to get admitted to the hospital for insurance cover. So, more than 70 percent of people are not covered in the scheme. In Chhattisgarh, it covers only Rs 50,000. The expense above this limit is provided by the state government,” the Health Minister told ANI.

“In the tender, there was a premium of Rs 1100 in which Rs 660 paid by the central government and the rest Rs 440 is paid by the state government,” he added.

Deo further said that the UHS scheme can be implemented with the existing infrastructure.

He said, “There is no need for more infrastructures. We can do a lot with the current 170 Community Health Centres. We can increase it with the requirement. Every village is being covered by the health workers. CM has given assurance to help.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on April 14, 2018, inaugurated the first health center under Ayushman Bharat Scheme at Bijapur district in Chhattisgarh.

The PMJAY scheme aims to provide financial protection to over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families including rural families and identified occupational categories of urban workers’ families. The scheme provides a Rs 5 lakh annual cover per family for secondary and tertiary healthcare, mainly for hospital care at public and impaneled private hospitals.