Ayushman seeks universal health cover

The initial momentum of the scheme provides a “strong proof” of concept. Ayushman Bharat scheme is to be provided to all citizens in the country.

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NEW DELHI: Bharat National Health Protection Mission, Indu Bhushan, has strongly pitched for universal health coverage (UHC), stressing that only 10% of India’s population outside the central health scheme and state health schemes has comprehensive health insurance and that a large section of the middle class does not have any health cover.

In a note in an internal monthly newsletter of Ayushman Bharat for December, Bhushan said the “political will to support UHC has never been greater in India” and that the initial momentum of the health scheme provides a “strong proof” of concept and a viable framework for achieving UHC. “The country has irreversibly set itself on course to achieve UHC,” he said.

He pointed out that many states had used their own resources to expand coverage of Ayushman Bharat, which now hence covers 130 million families against the originally planned 100 million families. “The states have shown strong leadership and willingness to adopt UHC as their primary health goal.

Some states like Uttarakhand and Karnataka have expanded the scheme to almost their entire population.

Many other states and UTs have similar plans,” he wrote. Bhushan said, “UHC is feasible and Ayushman Bharat can be expanded to the middle class but it is also a question of resources.”

It had earlier reported that a sectoral group of secretaries set up by the Prime Minister’s Office planned to recommend expanding Ayushman Bharat scheme to all citizens in the country.

At present, it covers 100 million poor families as per the Socio Economic and Caste Census, 2011.

Bhushan said in his note that in the public sector, multiple health care schemes are operated by central agencies and state governments.