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‘If Ayushman Bharat so good, then…’: Arvind Kejriwal’s swipe at Harsh Vardhan

Kejriwal’s letter may add more fuel to fire over a program that has pitted a few opposition-ruled states against the BJP-led government at the centre.

india Updated: Jun 07, 2019 19:06 IST
HT Correspomdent
HT Correspomdent
New Delhi
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal‘s letter said if the AAP government’s health scheme is shut down in the favour of Ayushman Bharat, it will be a loss for the residents of the national capital.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal‘s letter said if the AAP government’s health scheme is shut down in the favour of Ayushman Bharat, it will be a loss for the residents of the national capital.(Amal KS/HT PHOTO)
         

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal has written to Union health & family welfare minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan stating that Delhi government’s health program is 10-times bigger and more comprehensive than Central government’s health insurance scheme, Ayushman Bharat.

Kejriwal’s letter may add more fuel to fire over a program that has pitted a few opposition-ruled states against the BJP-led government at the centre. The BJP has credited Ayushman Bharat among other central government run schemes for the popular mandate that returned the party to power in the recently concluded general elections.

The central government has renewed its push for implementation of Aysuhman Bharat in opposition–ruled states like Delhi, Odisha, Telangana and West Bengal where the respective chief ministers have been opposing it.

“I am happy to tell you that Ayusman Bharat has already been implemented in Delhi a long time back. The Delhi government’s health scheme is 10 ten times bigger and more comprehensive than Ayusman Bharat,” writes Kejriwal.

The letter adds that if the AAP government’s health scheme is shut down in the favour of Ayushman Bharat, it will be a loss for the residents of the national capital.

Harsh Vardhan had written to the chief ministers of Delhi, Odisha, Telangana and West Bengal, urging them to join the Centre’s flagship health insurance scheme.

Also read | ‘Won’t apply Centre’s health scheme in Delhi’: Delhi health minister

The AAP chief’s comments come a week after Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain had suggested that the AAP government would not implement Ayushman Bharat in the city as it was not comprehensive, while Delhi government was providing treatment to all residents.

Kejriwal, in his two-page letter has reiterated its government’s view that the limited cover offered by Ayushman Bharat scheme was forcing excluded patients from the neighbouring states like Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to seek treatment in Delhi- that provides free medical treatment to everyone irrespective of their economic status.

“Hardly any resident from Delhi goes to Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to get treatment, which indicates that Delhi’s health scheme, is functioning well”, says Kejriwal.

The Delhi chief minister goes on to further compare the two schemes, “Ayusman Bharat considers only 10 per cent residents as beneficiaries in Delhi while the AAP government’s program covers each of the capital’s two-crore residents as a beneficiary.”

“Those who earn more than Rs 10,000 are not covered under Ayusman Bharat, which means those earning less than minimum wages (notified by Delhi government) are out of this scheme,” Kejriwal adds.

The chief minister also says that beneficiaries get treatment of up to Rs 5 lakh under Ayushman Bharat, but there is no such limit under the AAP dispensation’s scheme, and hence, government bears all expenses, even if it is Rs 30 lakh.

The Central government scheme aims to provide coverage of Rs five lakh annually, benefitting more than 10.74 crore poor families for secondary and tertiary care and hospitalisation through a network of empanelled healthcare providers.

Also read: Opinion | The Modi government must restart the reforms process

Kejriwal points out that Central and Delhi governments’ shared objective to provide good health care to the citizens should be achieved, no matter through which scheme. Arguing his case further, he reminds Dr. Harsh Vardhan that Delhi’s health program has been praised internationally and even several big international personalities have inspected and endorsed it.

Finally, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal requests Union health minister to help make capital’s health scheme better by pointing out shortcomings, if any, as a competent and experienced doctor.

First Published: Jun 07, 2019 18:24 IST

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