Centre to foot bill in states that pulled out of Ayushman Bharat
The National Health Authority (NHA), the implementing agency for the scheme, has sought special permission from the Union health minister JP Nadda.
The Union government will fund the entire treatment for beneficiaries of Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY) even if their states have pulled out of scheme for some reason.
The National Health Authority (NHA), the implementing agency for the scheme, has sought special permission from the Union health minister JP Nadda, who is also the chairman of the governing board of NHA, to permit interstate portability for such patients.
Confirming this, Dr Dinesh Arora, deputy CEO, Ayushman Bharat, said: “Portability will be honoured for all the eligible beneficiaries, and they will get treatment in any of the empanelled hospitals in other states that are on board. The Central govt. will fund their treatment cost.”
Hindustan Times learns that this will apply not just to about 80 million crore eligible families across states that received a letter from the Prime Minister at the time of the scheme’s launch, but to all beneficiaries listed under socioeconomic caste census.
A 60-year-old West Bengal farmer, Ananta Kumar Roy, is being treated in Maharashtra’s Tata Memorial Centre for cancer as a special case, as his state recently pulled out of the scheme. The resident of Bardhaman is suffering from colon cancer and with an annual income of around R50,000 can’t afford private treatment. Fortunately for Roy, he was an early member of scheme.
Doctors at the hospital approached NHA; despite being a beneficiary his details couldn’t be matched through the beneficiary identification system because West Bengal is no longer part of the scheme. West Bengal was one of the 33 states and Union Territories that initially signed the mandatory memorandum of understanding with the central government to implement the scheme. However, it recently pulled out of the scheme after the state’s chief minister Mamata Banerjee said that the Centre, and the PM were hogging all the credit for it.
To be sure, portability will not apply to people in states that have not even signed on to the Ayushman Bharat; such as Delhi, Odisha and Telangana. “NHA will make full payments for such special cases (where states have pulled out of Ayushman Bharat) as in this case NHA will treat these cases as Union Territory cases,” said Arora.
The Centre launched the scheme on September 23.