Prime Minister of India, Mr Narendra Singh Modi launched "Ayushman Bharat" a completely government funded healthcare scheme for poor Indians.
The scheme also renamed as PM Jan Arogya Yojana(PMJAY) lays the path for universal healthcare access through government funded scheme in private healthcare sector.
The scheme will benefit millions of poor people in India living below poverty line and registered under Government census as living BPL. The Government will fund up to five lakhs Rupees per annum for each family when they access private healthcare sector for treatment and there is no limit on the number per family.
This may cost the Government up to fifty billion Indian Rupees once the scheme is rolled out on twenty fifth September this year. It will cost the Indian government another hundred billion Indian Rupees next year to support this scheme.
The scheme may benefit poor through guaranteed healthcare access and middle class through increased jobs. The healthcare scheme involves revamping current public health facilities and surgeries and convert them into family wellness health centres.
Many states including Andhra Pradesh, Tamilnadu, Kerala, Punjab and Orissa have similar schemes in place for white card holders and offer free bypass surgery to poor patients holding white card. These states have existing operational structures and givernance mechanisms to support this scheme once rolled out to ensure smooth functioning. But there are many other states which do not have any operational or governance structures to adapt to this new healthcare model at such a short notice.
This may be seen as a election winning ploy by Mr Modi. However, in the times of rising healthcare costs the poor may se Mr Modi as true reformist and support him fully if this scheme rolls out successfully.