Saiyed Danish Jamal
New Delhi, February 5: Ghufrana, a middle aged mother of seven children had taken her husband to AIIMS last year for treatment of dislocation of two bones in his lower spine, had soon discovered that she could not afford to incur full costs of the entire treatment and as a result, could not go ahead with the treatment.
The reason of her despair was the list of expenses his treatment apart from the surgery would incur. The surgery fee was waived off but post hospitalisation charges were a whopping Rs. 80,000 that stared her in the face.
She was unaware of the ambitious Aayushman Bharat scheme wherein a health cover of 5 lakh rupees would be provided to 40 percent of the population. But thanks to the scheme, Ghufrana has now got a new ray of hope and her visits to the Aayushman Bharat’s office in the premises of AIIMS have been quite productive and all expenses of her husband’s treatment will now be taken care of.
“Till last year, I was unaware of this scheme and therefore there was no light for me at the end of the tunnel. I had almost given up on my husband’s treatment and never felt so helpless ever in my life. But the scheme is a boon for us,” said Ghufrana, who works a maid in Delhi to Healthwire while praising Ayushman Bharat.
The Centre has allocated Rs 69,000 crore for 2020-21 to the health sector (an increase of 10% as compared to last year) and stressed on expanding Pradhan Mantri-Ayushman Bharat Scheme (PMABY), billed as the world’s largest government-funded health assurance scheme to more aspirational districts.
Out of the total allocation, a sum of Rs 6,000 crore has been allocated to PM Jan Aarogya Yojana.
The expansion of Ayushman Bharat scheme will see setting up and development of more hospitals in Tier-II, Tier-III cities under the PPP model, which, the FM said will be funded from the proceeds from taxes on medical devices.
As on November 25, 2019 as many as 114 million e-cards were issued under PMABY. With the healthcare budget seeing an increase of 10% this year, what remains to be seen is if the increase also reflects in the number of beneficiaries.