New Delhi: The Central Government is mulling funding of the entire treatment of beneficiaries under Ayushman Bharat programme even if the states they come from have pulled out of the health scheme. With West Bengal pulling out and Chattishgarh hinting at a similar move, the Centre’s move is being seen as wooing voters from weaker sections, the actual beneficiaries of the programme ahead of the general elections.
Odisha, Telangana and Delhi cannot avail of this benefit as they have non accepted Ayushman Bharat when it was implemented.
Explaining the proposal, deputy CEO of Ayushman Bharat Dr Dinesh Arora told Hindustan Times that portability will be honoured for all eligible beneficiaries and they will get treatment in any of the empanelled hospitals in other states that are onboard. “The central government will fund their treatment cost,” he added.
The National Health Mission (NHM), the implementing agency of the scheme, has sought special permission of the Union Health Minister J P Nadda, who is the chairman of NHM’s governing board, to permit inter-state portability of such patients.
The paper gave an example of a patient in West Bengal, 60 year old Ananta Kumar Roy who is being treated in Maharashtra’s Tata Memorial Centre for cancer as a special case, as the state recently pulled out of the scheme.
West Bengal had recently pulled out of the scheme as State Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that the Centre and Prime Minister Narendra Modi were taking all the credits for the scheme.
Under the scheme states share 40 per cent for implementation while the rest is borne by the Centre. Some states have a mixed model of implementing the scheme.
The government estimates that with West Bengal pulling out of the scheme, nearly 60 lakh families will suffer.
Odisha is among a handful of states which has not adopted the scheme. Instead Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has announced the Biju Sawsthya Kalyan Yojana (BSKY). Both the central scheme as well as the state scheme come with equal financial coverage. But where the Central scheme goes a notch up vis-a-vis the state government scheme is the treatment provided at empanalled hospitals outside.
Applicants under the BSKY can avail treamtment only at selected hospitals outside the states such as in CMC Vellore, Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai and Narayan Hrudalaya in Bengaluru.