The Congress launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday, alleging that his government's flagship health insurance scheme Ayushman Bharat is not for common man but actually a "lifesaver" for private insurance companies and hospitals.
Asserting that the government's claims about the success of the scheme are "fake and false", senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said beneficiaries can avail treatment costing only up to ₹50,000 under this scheme on the premium of ₹1,100 paid by the government.
It is "not ₹5 lakh promised by Modi, he has exaggerated it 10 times," the Congress leader alleged.
"The claim that 'Modicare' has provided each household insurance cover of ₹5 lakh is a huge fraud," he claimed.
He further said that 11 crore people across the country are already covered under respective health insurance schemes of various states and the Centre's Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY). RSBY was started by the Congress-led UPA government, he added.
Ten crore people to be benefited under Ayushman Bharat are not over and above the 11 crore beneficiaries who are already availing benefits, he said, adding "Modi is trying to take credit for various health schemes through Ayushman Bharat."
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said PM Modi claimed in Ranchi in September last year that “This will be the world's biggest health insurance scheme in the world and will benefit more than 50 crore people.”
But the reality is that households covered under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (PMJAY) is lower than under the number of households previously covered by the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) and various state health insurance schemes. According to the National Health Authority, 11.2 crore households (equivalent to 56 crore individuals) were covered under existing state and central schemes in 2017-181. PMJAY covers 10.7 crore households (or 54 crore individuals).
Emphasising that the Ayushman Bharat Yojana or Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY), which is also described as "Modicare", is conceptually wrong, the Congress leader said, "It doesn't cover diabetes and high blood pressure, the two common ailments in India." "Patients will not have access to adequate healthcare under PMJAY because it excludes outpatient treatment, which 87 per cent of ailing persons undergo. Outpatient treatment is a serious financial burden that accounted for 63 per cent of the ₹4,955 spent by households out of their pockets on health in 2014," he said.
The senior Congress leader alleged that “in line with the Modi government’s autocratic instincts, it is hiding data about PMJAY’s activities. The Ayushman Bharat dashboard is inaccessible to the public and to researchers, and information is being tightly controlled to prevent any informed discussion about this programme that is ostensibly transforming public health in India.”
In a further use of public funds for private benefit, the government on 9 January 2019 issued guidelines to provide private firms with land and upto 40% viability gap funding, the Congress said.
The country does not need health insurance which benefits private players but health assurance which helps common man, which is possible through Right to Health as promised by Congress chief Rahul Gandhi.
With inputs from NH Web Desk