The Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Abhiyaan, also known as Ayushman Bharat - National Health Protection Mission (AB-NHPS), is an ambitious project initiated by the government of India that aims to provide health insurance coverage for the economically deprived masses of the country. Roughly, 50 crore individuals will benefit from the universal health insurance scheme.
The project, as announced by PM Narendra Modi on 15 August 2018, will be rolled out on 25 September 2018. The new health scheme will absorb the existing government-backed health insurance schemes – Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) and Senior Citizen Health Insurance Scheme (SCHIS).
This health insurance scheme has been designed for the vulnerable members of the country i.e. about 40% of India’s population. The eligibility for the scheme is based on the Socio-Economic Caste Census of 2011.
The premium for the health insurance scheme is shared between the Centre and each of the states. The premium will be shared in a ratio specified by the Ministry of Finance. Since the aim of the scheme is to provide health services to underprivileged families who cannot afford certain treatments, they need not pay any premiums towards Ayushman Bharat.
Implementation of Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Abhiyaan
Ayushman Bharat is based on the principle of co-operative federalism and hence the centre and each of the states will work hand in hand to provide health insurance services to the underprivileged masses. Here is how the scheme will be implemented:
The objective of the scheme is to make quality medical treatments accessible to the economically backward section of the society. With the help of this scheme, the underprivileged people can receive treatments in a timely manner. This will help progress the overall health condition of the country which will gradually improve the efficiency of people and eventually improve the quality of life as a whole.
Nirmala Sitharaman, the newly appointed Union Finance Minister, has increased the allocation for the national health insurance scheme Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) by three times the sum allocated in the previous budget. Also, the overall healthcare sector allocation has also been increased but many experts in the field are disappointed since they expected higher allocation and new reforms towards the improvement of the overall healthcare system.
The healthcare sector has benefited from a 15% increase in allocation from Rs.54,302.50 crore to Rs.62,659.12 in 2018-19. The allocation for PMJAY has increase by around 10% to Rs.6,400 crore. New proposals for the health sector include a reduction in customs duty on selective capital goods and raw materials. This includes the manufacturing of disposable sterilized dialysers and artificial kidney. A notable announcement during the budget speech was the plan to establish a National Research Foundation that will help ramp up research plans throughout the country. The newly proposed education policy to increase the number of seats for MBBS and post-graduation, will help create more doctors and specialists. The proposed 100% FDI in the health insurance sector is also expected to bring positives to the healthcare system with an increase in insurance penetration.
15 July 2019
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