Thomas Isaac, Finance Minister of Kerala and Member, Central Committee of Communist Party of India (Marxist) said that Kerala, with a record of highest per capita expenditure on healthcare, doesn’t need Ayushmann Bharat (AB’s) prompting to take care of people’s health.
"Just as in Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) we want to customise the new scheme. Meanwhile, we shall expose hollow claims of AB," said Isaac.
He criticised the Modi-led government's National Health Protection Scheme, Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY), alleging that it is quite similar to the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY), which has been poorly implemented.
In a comment on Twitter, he said that the RSBY has not been implemented properly across the country.
"Total claims under RSBY so far are 12 million. Kerala accounts for Rs 5.3 million. A state with a population share of three per cent, accounts for 42 per cent of the claims -- a sad commentary on implementation. Ayushman Bharat is also on the same track," he said.
Earlier, he said the argument that larger the number of beneficiaries, lower the premium, is irrelevant. Each state is going to independently tender for beneficiaries as per central norms, just as in RSBY and therefore tender coverage is not going to be higher.
"A prize for anyone who solves the riddle of Ayushman Bharat! Subsidy ceiling for current RSBY scheme of Rs 30,000 benefit is Rs 1,250. The subsidy for Modi scheme with the benefit of Rs 5,00,000 is Rs 1,110. How is it possible to have such a jump in benefits for lower premium?" he asked.
The Finance Minister argues that the scheme would also be adding the burden to the State, and said state governments should be allowed to customise the scheme.
Kerala and some other states have not implemented the project, while the Central Government announced in August that 29 States and Union Territories have signed the Memorandum of Undertaking and have started working on implementation of the PMJAY. Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, J P Nadda, said that pilot runs have started in 16 States and Union Territories. Kerala's neighbouring state, Tamil Nadu, has recently announced its plans to implement the scheme along with its existing Chief Minister's Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme.