“The health of nations is more important than the wealth of nations-Will Durant”
What is Ayushman Bharat Yojana?
Ayushman Bharat is a National Health Protection Scheme launched on 23rd September 2018 by our honourable Prime Minister Sri Narendra Modi to achieve the vision of UNIVERSAL HEALTH COVERAGE (UHC). Ayushman Bharat was launched as recommended by the National Health Policy, 2017 and is entitled to cover 10 crore poor and vulnerable families.
The initiative has been designed on the lines of meeting the Sustainable Development Goals or SDG and its commitment– Leave No One Behind. Ayushman Bharat focuses on taking path breaking interventions to holistically address health at primary, secondary as well as tertiary level. The two ongoing schemes- Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna and Senior Citizen Health Insurance Scheme are subsumed under it.
Two Pronged Approach under the Ayushman Bharat
Two major initiatives undertaken under Ayushman Bharat are as follows-
Health and Wellness Centres or HWGs
HWGs has been regarded as the foundation of India’s Health System as these centres will provide comprehensive health care ranging from non-communicable to maternal and child health care system. They will also provide free essential drugs and diagnostic services.
Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojna or PM-JAY
Largest health assurance scheme in the world. It is fully funded by the government and the cost of implementation is shared between the Central and the State Government.
Some Key features of PM-JAY are as follows-
- It provides an insured sum of 5 lakh per family per year for secondary care as well as tertiary care hospitalization across Public and Private.
- An entitlement-based scheme targeting the beneficiaries as identified by the latest Socio-Economic Caste Census or SECC data.
- Once identified by the database, the beneficiary is considered insured and the insured cost is shared by the Central and the State Government in the 60:40 ratio.
- Benefits are portable across the country and the payment for the treatment will be done on a package rate that is to be defined by the Government.
- These packaged rates are flexible, but once fixed hospitals can’t change it and under no circumstances can they charge the beneficiary. Besides this, they will have number of average days of hospitalization for a medical procedure and other supporting documents needed.
- National Health Agency to be constituted for effective implementation of PMJAY by every State Governments.
Ayushman Bharat (PM-JAY) Benefits
- Ayushman Bharat aims to create a healthy, content and capable India.
- Ayushman Bharat is portable i.e. the treatment can be availed by the beneficiary in any state where it has been implemented.
- Enable creation of new health infrastructure in rural, vulnerable, remote and under-served areas.
- Ayushman Bharat will strengthen public health care systems through insurance revenues infusion.
- The Scheme will provide standardised high-quality care along with strong fraud protection mechanisms.
- Ayushman Bharat will reduce out of pocket expenditure for hospitalization.
- Ayushman Bharat will help India capitalize its demographic dividend thus ensuring enhanced productivity and averting wage loss, poverty and impoverishment.
- Ayushman Bharat ensures easy accessibility and affordability of quality secondary and tertiary care services through a combination of public and private hospitals.
- Ayushman Bharat will have a multiplier effect on hospitals and allied sectors like pharmaceuticals, medical devices and diagnostics, thus encouraging companies to invest more leading to job creation.
Also, the current crisis of COVID-19 has highlighted the pathetic state of the health care system in India, which spend only 3.6% of GDP, which is way lower as compared to other countries as per OECD. Ayushman Bharat is a giant leap and visionary step towards advancing the dream of providing affordable and approachable health care to every section of the society and an approach in the right direction to jump higher in the Health Care Index. But the path is not so easy and The Central Government need to monitor that what is presented in the papers is worked on ground reality.