The centre on Wednesday reached out to states, which had opted out of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government’s flagship health protection scheme, Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY), asking them to reconsider their decision.
Union minister of health and family welfare Harsh Vardhan has written to the chief ministers of Delhi, Odisha, Telangana and West Bengal, urging them to join the AB-PMJAY. He has also spoken with the chief ministers of Delhi, Odisha and West Bengal—Arvind Kejriwal, Naveen Patnaik, Mamata Banerjee, respectively—and is trying to contact Telangana’s K. Chandrashekar Rao.
“It is important that the benefits of the visionary scheme like Ayushman Bharat should reach all deprived and vulnerable people in the country. I will make all efforts to convince the remaining states and Union territories (UTs) to bring the benefits of the scheme to their people and ensure that no eligible person is deprived of these benefits," said Vardhan.
It is due to the clear and transparent process and ease of access that a large section of the poor population of the 32 states and UTs, which have participated in the scheme, has benefited, the minister said, adding that it has been a success story.
“I assure full support and cooperation to states in aligning their own schemes with Ayushman Bharat," he said.
Urging them to join the scheme, the Minister argued that the states would gain resources, national portability, state-of-the-art technological platforms, implementation systems and world-class analytics systems at no additional cost. They will also benefit from a well-proven fraud monitoring and control system and exchange of key learning and best practices of other states towards equitable healthcare. The health minister said that financial resources will be made available to the States with adequate flexibility in the spirit of cooperative federalism.
“Implementing AB-PMJAY would prove highly beneficial for not just the State but equally importantly to its people and all stakeholders. The ultimate beneficiary of this collaboration will be poor and vulnerable people," said Harsh Vardhan, in the letter.
AB-PMJAY, also dubbed Modicare, which is billed as the world’s largest healthcare scheme, aims to provide free health insurance of ₹5 lakh per family to nearly 40% of the population—more than 100 million poor and vulnerable families. Delhi, Odisha, Telangana, and West Bengal after major deliberations during the previous central government refused to adopt the scheme citing different reasons.