Modi government issued a press note on some news reports yesterday which had claimed that Maharashtra and Rajasthan are “reluctant” to join Ayushman Bharat. Both these states are ruled by the BJP.
The government says that these reports are factually incorrect and that both states fully support Ayushman Bharat and are not reluctant to join it. Both states have strong health insurance schemes, which are currently operational, the press note has stated.
It further states that Maharashtra is implementing Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Jan Arogya Yojana (MJPAY) since 2012 covering about 2.24 crore families, providing a benefit cover of Rs. 1.5 lakh per family per annum. The proposed coverage under Ayushman Bharat is 84 lakhs families. Whereas Rajasthan is implementing Bhamashah Health Insurance Scheme since 2015 covering about 92 lakh families, belonging to National Food Security Act and Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana, providing a benefit cover to each family per annum of Rs. 30,000 for common diseases and Rs. 3 lakh for critical illness. The proposed coverage under Ayushman Bharat is 60 lakhs.
Both states already cover more people than proposed to be covered under Ayushman Bharat. However, the benefit package in terms of health conditions covered and total coverage per family of Rs. 5 lakhs are larger under Ayushman Bharat.
So why the delay?
The central government says that the two states are currently reviewing the financial and operational implications of the convergence with Ayushman Bharat to avoid any disruption of services, and ensure that the convergence can be done efficiently and current legal contracts can be honored. The two states also have ongoing contracts with insurance agencies. Any modification of benefit packages would also require negotiations with them.
It also states that both Maharashtra and Rajasthan will join Ayushman Bharat as soon as these issues are resolved.