In another manifestation of extreme businessman-phobia that Rahul Gandhi is suffering from these days, today he announced that the Ayushman Bharat scheme is a limited scheme that will benefit only 15-20 richest businessmen in India. He said that he is totally convinced that Ayushman Bharat scheme will have only limited benefits, that too for a very limited number of rich persons.
While talking to health professionals in Raipur in Chhattisgarh, Rahul Gandhi said that the Ayushman Bharat scheme allows a limited number of people to make a massive amount of money. After the outrageous claim that Narendra Modi has put Rs. 30,000 crore into Anil Ambani’s pocket from the Rafale deal that he repeats hundreds of times a day, this is another completely wrong claim made by Rahul Gandhi.
Rahul Gandhi also said that Ayushman Bharat is an insurance scheme, and it means privatisation of healthcare. He said he is completely against the privatisation of healthcare.
Ayushman Bharat is the world’s largest public healthcare scheme, which covers more than 10 crore households in the country. This means, the scheme covers more than 50 crore people, and by no scale that can be called a ‘very limited number of people’.
Rahul Gandhi alleges that only a few insurance companies are benefitting from the scheme, and the general public will not benefit from it. But the fact is, in just 5 months after the launch of the scheme, more than 13 lakh people have already benefitted from the scheme as on 28th February. This one scheme has transformed the face of primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare across the country. This scheme has also been praised by several international figures like Bill Gates and the Director General of the World Health Organization.
Due to the high cost of medical treatment, insurance is vital in providing healthcare services. The long history of Congress rule in India has shown that the idea of public healthcare only through public hospitals have failed. Therefore, the involvement of private hospitals for providing healthcare services, and the involvement of insurance companies is one of the ways to make payments to such private hospitals.
More importantly, the insurance companies have got only a small portion of the scheme, as most states have decided to use the trust-based model to implement the scheme. In the trust-based model, no premium is paid to any insurance company, but the fund allotted to the scheme is collected by a trust which is managed by the state. Among the states that have signed up for the Ayushman Bharat scheme, only 4 of them – Jharkhand, Nagaland, Manipur and West Bengal – have opted for the insurance model. The rest all states have opted for the trust model which means that the majority of funds going into the scheme have been managed by state governments themselves, and not by few insurance companies as alleged by Rahul Gandhi.
Therefore, the claims made by Rahul Gandhi about the scheme are wrong. The healthcare scheme is the largest scheme in the world covering the largest number of people, and the majority of its finances are managed by non-profit trusts, not insurance companies.