Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Wednesday urged the chief ministers of Delhi, Odisha, Telangana and West Bengal to join the Centre's flagship health insurance scheme, Ayushman Bharat - Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY).
According to a statement from the health ministry, the minister had also spoken to Arvind Kejriwal, Naveen Patnaik and Mamata Banerjee, the respective chief ministers of Delhi, Odisha and West Bengal, and was trying to connect with Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao.
Taking stock of the situation that the three states and one Union Territory (UT) were yet to join the AB-PMJAY, Dr Harsh Vardhan, in his letter to the chief ministers, said, "It is important that the benefits of a visionary scheme like Ayushman Bharat should reach all the deprived and vulnerable people in the country.”
"I will make all efforts to convince the remaining states and the UT to bring the benefits of the scheme to their people and ensure that no eligible person is deprived of these benefits," he added.
He further said that it was due to the transparent processes, ease of access and benefits to a large section of the poor population that 32 states and UTs had accepted the scheme, which was running successfully and providing financial protection to crores of people.
Urging the states to join the scheme, the minister also noted that they would gain in terms of resources, national portability, state-of-the-art technological platforms, implementation systems and world-class analytics systems at no additional cost.
“They would also benefit from a well-proven fraud monitoring-and-control system and the exchange of key learnings and best practices of other states towards equitable healthcare,” he added.
Minister Harsh Vardhan also made it clear that financial resources would be made available to the states with adequate flexibility in the spirit of cooperative federalism.
He further pointed out that implementing the scheme would not only prove highly beneficial for the states, but also for the people and all the stakeholders.
"The ultimate beneficiary of this collaboration will be poor and vulnerable people. Due to the portability of services, the states will gain from the nationwide network of hospitals and will also help provide services in their own states to those from outside their states," the minister said.
In the letter, he assured full support and cooperation to the states in aligning their own schemes with Ayushman Bharat.
The AB-PMJAY scheme aims to provide a coverage of Rs five lakh per family annually, benefitting more than 10.74 crore poor families for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation through a network of empanelled healthcare providers.