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Will Odisha Opt For Union Govt’s Ayushman Bharat Health Scheme?


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04 June 2019

Debashish Maharana


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Bhubaneswar: As BJD supremo-cum-Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik-led Odisha Government has already implemented its own mega health scheme of Biju Swashtya Kalyan Yojana (BSKY) since last year much prior to the implementation of Ayushman Bharat, all are now agog to see if the same State Government would opt for the same Union Government’s mega health scheme after the general polls.

Today, National Health CEO Dr Indu Bhusan and his team held a preliminary meeting in this regard with Odisha Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi in presence of Odisha Health and Finance secretaries at the State Secretariat here.

He also later on met the Health Minister and had a meeting with him.

In his media reactions, Odisha Health Minister Naba Kishore Das said, “They (Centre) have given a proposal. We’re examining. If we notice that the people of Odisha will get any benefit from it (Ayushman Bharat), we’ll be taking a decision. But, there has been no decision on it yet. Today’s is the first meeting. So, let’s wait for the final round meeting.”

He informed, “Earlier they had approached us and we had turned down as we have a better health scheme implemented by our Odisha Government. Now they have stated that they would give us a new proposal. Let them give us the new proposal. What proposal they are going to give us, we’ll examine and see that it works well with our health scheme.”  

“The Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana implemented by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is the best. This has been done keeping in view all the aspects of healthcare services to be provided to the people of Odisha,” the Health Minister asserted.

Odisha Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi said, “CEO, National Health Authority, Dr Indu Bhusan has come with his team. Today we held a preliminary discussion on their scheme and ours. After 2-3 rounds of discussion we’ll be coming to a conclusion.”

“He has come for the first time to Odisha. Hence, it is our first round discussion. Need some more rounds of discussions before arriving at a final decision on it,” opined the Chief Secretary.

NHA CEO Dr Indu Bhusan told media, “We had a very positive first round of discussion. Of course from the national level we are very keen that Odisha joins Ayushman Bharat. Ayushman Bharat is a win win win scheme. It will be helping at the national level because we have national level portability. It’ll help the State and I believe that it will also help the people of the State. If they join Ayushman Bharat, they can use services anywhere in the country. So it becomes like a truly national scheme.”

He stated, “We’re hoping that we can reach at a conclusion. We’re under discussion. The State already has a good and strong scheme. Our challenge is how to converge Ayushman Bharat with the existing scheme of the State and we’ll make all efforts to do that.”

He added, “I’m going to be having a meeting with the hon’ble Minister and hopefully with the Chief Minister, discuss that over next couple of weeks and we hope to find a solution for this convergence. Public hospitals in the State are providing free services to everyone. So we have to see how we do share that expense. We have to work out a formula, which is transparent and which can be audited, and which is in line with Cabinet decision of Ayushman Bharat.”

“The State is providing expenditure to the women upto Rs 7 lakh, but we’ll be providing upto Rs 5 lakh. Only four states have not accepted it (Ayushman Bharat scheme) - Odisha, Telangana, Delhi and West Bengal. And we’re hoping that they will come and opt so,” he opined.

Soon after assuming charge as the new Union Health Minister yesterday, Harsh Vardhan had stated that he would write to the Chief Ministers of the five states where the Ayushman Bharat - Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY) scheme has not been implemented so far.

The five left out states are Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Odisha and Delhi.

On the other hand, 25 states have implemented the health scheme under which Rs 5 lakh annual medical cover is provided to each family belonging to vulnerable sections for treatment.

According to the Union Health Minister, 27 lakh people have availed the benefits under the scheme so far. He has also stated yesterday that the Health Ministry would work extensively so that more and more eligible persons get the benefits under the scheme.

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Naba Kishore Das, Minister, Health, Odisha

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Aditya Prasad Padhi, Chief Secretary, Odisha

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Dr Indu Bhusan, CEO, NHA