The Ayushman Bharat scheme, also known as the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY), is the National Health Protection Scheme that was set up on September 23, 2018. It is also called as the AB-NHPM (Ayushman Bharat-National Health Protection Mission). With the Centre offering 60% and the states the rest 40%), it is the world’s biggest government-funded scheme (anticipated expenditure of Rs 12,000 crore per annum, and is aiming more than 50 crore poorest beneficiaries or around 10 crore households (8 crores rural and 2 crores urban) and every family would have a cover of Rs 5 lakh per year. It must be remarked that 50 crore receivers are approximately equal to the population of the whole European Union or combined population of the US, Canada, and Mexico.
It is lengthened to those groups that were availing of the government’s earlier scheme, the Socio-Economic Caste Census of 2011 is the root of beneficiary association under the policy, i.e., the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY).
Ayushman Bharat would provide secondary and tertiary healthcare hospitalisation to the beneficiaries across 23 specialities through 1,390 packages, which include treatment/procedures such as cancer surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, cardiac surgery, stents, neurosurgery, spine surgery and specialised tests such as MRI and CT scan, among others, with the flexibility to include more that are not specified as of now. About 16,000 hospitals, of which a little over 50% are private hospitals, have been impaneled so far. It is hoped that about 1 crore poor would be benefited each year (6.85 lakh people got free treatment in the first 100 days of the roll-out of the scheme) as the scheme gathers momentum with increased awareness about the mission.
And largest states and Union Territories have agreed to adopt it having stating; it is now time to analyze the operating of AB-NHPM as more than 10 months have elapsed since its launch. So, here are some limitations and challenges that the policy faces?
- Stated hospitals confirm that their package rates are ineffectual and required to be examined and decided on a scientific foundation to make them financially viable;
- Only time will tell to what measure the government can meet its commitment, Although the central government has promised additional resources and tapping of other funding avenues.
- But the poor for whom the scheme is carried, can’t afford this, the policy comprises only hospital expense and not outpatient care, which is to be borne out-of-pocket.