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healthcare | IST

Ayushman Bharat scheme completes 100 days: Here's what experts have to say

Billed as the world's largest public healthcare scheme, Ayushman Bharat, has completed 100 days on January 1.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September launched the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana which aims to provide a coverage of Rs 5 lakh per family annually, benefiting more than 10.74 crore poor families or over 50 crore people for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation through a network of empanelled health care providers.
100 days after the rollout, around 7 lakh people have benefitted to the tune of Rs 935 crore, according to government data. Nearly 16,000 hospitals have signed up for the scheme and 55 percent of those are private hospitals.
While the scheme has taken off, some concerns remain.
The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has pointed out that the same medical procedure under the Ayushman Bharat scheme costs less than the government's own central health scheme. So, they want rates to be aligned so that more hospitals can come on board.
In a bid to improve oversight, the government on Wednesday decided to dissolve the National Health Agency and approved formation of a new body named National Health Authority (NHA) for better implementation of Ayushman Bharat.
CNBC-TV18 caught up with Dinesh Arora, deputy CEO, National Health Agency; Sangita Reddy, joint MD, Apollo Hospitals and Anil Goyal, joint secretary, IMA, to discuss the hits and misses of the scheme.
Dinesh Arora said, "The main aim of this scheme was to decrease catastrophic expenses. National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) says that 6 crore Indians fall below the poverty line every year because of health expenses. The scheme has done a great beginning. Every 13 seconds a patient is getting treated. Every 2 seconds a card is being made. Of all the expenses, 77 percent of the expenses have gone for treatment of tertiary illnesses which actually cause catastrophic illnesses. So, it is a good beginning and if we implement it well, it will be a great success."
Sangita Reddy said, "Having a scheme like this is crucial for the government and definitely it is very important to find a way to bring people who are uncovered under the form of coverage. It is unfair to have people accessing healthcare needs and being driven into poverty. So, all of us are very supportive of the scheme."
What we need to do is a scientific methodology on pricing and whether it is the CII PWC report or the FICCI report, we have done a scientific analysis of costs and we have projected this forward to the government saying that the current prices which are 20-30 percent below the central government health scheme (CGHS) are unsustainable, Reddy said.