One of the highlight of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day speech was Jan Aarogya Yojna, or the National Health Protection Mission, which he said will be launched formally on September 25, indicating the fact that a project of epic proportion needs background preparation and support to materialize, a fact that several industry leaders have been pointing out. The NHPM is an ambitious initiative, providing coverage of Rs 5 lakh per family a year to 10 crore families mainly rural poor and identified urban workers.
Dr. Prathap C. Reddy, Founder, Chairman, Apollo Hospitals Group welcoming the announcement said, “The Prime Minister’s Jan Arogya Abhiyan is a call to arms to the medical fraternity to rise to the occasion and work towards easing the healthcare woes of crores of Indians! We welcome the initiative, by which the Government takes on the burden, and shares the cost of providing healthcare to those who cannot afford it. It is heartening to see the rapid progress made in a short time since the scheme was announced, and will be welcome relief to millions of poor patients when it is launched next month. The technology backbone of the Ayushman Bharat will help ensure streamlining of the process of healthcare delivery to those who need it the most. As the first step towards Universal Health Coverage, this is a pivotal moment in the country’s healthcare journey that will require the entire healthcare ecosystem, public and private, to work with a collective sense of purpose and synchrony. The Apollo Hospitals group will support this initiative whole-heartedly as part of our continuing efforts towards universal access. A healthy nation will be an engine of economic growth – and this Independence Day, we re-dedicate ourselves to our commitment to build a Healthy and Happy India.”
However, the government is not able to reach a consensus on treatment costs with various providers who will be instrumental in smooth and steady rollout of the scheme. “The Jan Arogya-Ayushman Bharat scheme proposes to go boldly where no previous regime has gone. It enables a new consumer base access to a market which earlier it could ill afford. But the strain it adds on the public exchequer and how such massive numbers would be accounted for and disbursed to healthcare institutions across the country needs more clarity. There are reasoned concerns for quality of healthcare and research on therapy outcomes,” says Dr. Sanjiv Kumar, Director, International Institute of Health Management and Research, New Delhi
The NHPS is a great idea in theory because of its vast coverage and equitable nature in the delivery of healthcare services. However, the experience of schemes such as the CGHS, RSBY, Aarogyashree and state GHS have shown that rates for reimbursement fixed by government agencies does not reflect actual costs borne by hospitals and clinical institutions. “The viability of running successful organizations, the quality of both care delivered to patients and the pharmaceutical industry are matters that need to be looked into”, he added.
Talking about quality access to medicines through NHPS Sanjeev Gupta, Kusum Group of Companies said, “The government’s Pradhanmantri Jan Arogya initiative is taking shape since it was first announced as Ayushman Bharat by Arun Jaitley in the budget speech earlier this year. It is really good to see that the government is actively working on rolling-in the policy on the ground. The government has made this a technology driven initiative which is a great step to ensure transparency and effective implementation, and at a grander scale, this initiative would encourage more work in development of overall health infrastructure in the country. As a pharmaceutical organisation, we welcome these steps taken by the government as growing healthcare infrastructure in the country will help 50 crore poor people access medicines and essential drugs. What we look forward from the government is a mechanism which encourages public private partnership while ensuring that quality medicines reach out to the masses.”
Formally announcing the rolling out of the Government’s Mega Health Insurance Scheme (Prime Minister Jan Aarogya Yojna (PMJAY) under Ayushman Bharat Mission on Independence Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given the nation a much-awaited gift which will act as a principle vehicle to transform the entire healthcare ecosystem in the country.
Reacting to the Announcement of the scheme from Red Fort, Apex Healthcare body “Healthcare Federation of India” (NATHEALTH) said that September 25 will be a historical and ‘never-before’ moment for the country and a fool-proof technology-driven scheme will bring in transparency and accountability to identify genuine and needy 50 crore beneficiaries and provide them quality treatment and care.
“Effective implementation of such a scheme needs meticulous planning and effective management on the part of the government agencies and insurance providers. It is promising to note that the Prime Minister made it very clear that the scheme will be technology-driven for transparency and accountability. Inadequate monitoring and incorrect data could jeopardize the effectiveness of the scheme, in which case the benefits may never reach the needy,” said Daljit Singh, President, NATHEALTH.
“To achieve set goals under the Scheme, all stakeholders need to move forward in a collaborative spirit. At NATHEALTH, we firmly believe that Accessibility, Affordability and Accountability are the prime priorities for healthcare sector. Building a strong network of providers is very critical for successful implementation of the scheme,” said Anjan Bose, Secretary General, NATHEALTH.