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Ayushman Bharat holdout states: Vardhan speaks out again

health insurance and health careUnion Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan has again spoke out on the subject of Ayushman Bharat’s holdout states, where prospective beneficiaries cannot avail the benefits of the Government’s flagship health insurance scheme the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY). 

Of India’s states and union territories, four have yet to implement the scheme. “Ayushman Bharat is being implemented in the entire country,” Vardhan said. “There are four states including Delhi which have not implemented the Ayushman Bharat scheme — Delhi, Telangana, Odisha and West Bengal. It has benefited 10.75 crore poor families but the people in the four states including Delhi are certainly deprived of the scheme.” 

Earlier this week, Minister of State Ashwini Choubey informed, as of December 5th, more than 65 lakh accessed treatments worth Rs 9,549 crore under Ayushman Bharat. Of these, more than 35 lakh received treatments worth Rs 6,133 crore through the private sector, he added. 

Ayushman Bharat’s holdout states have been the subject of repeated missives by the Health Minister since he assumed office earlier this year. “Under your leadership, onboarding of Delhi under AB-PMJAY shall be highly beneficial for beneficiaries of the state as well as the overall AB-PMJAY scheme at the national level — and is, therefore, a win-win situation for all stakeholders,” he wrote to the Chief Ministers of Delhi, Odisha, Telangana, and West Bengal earlier this year. 

“It is important that the benefits of Ayushman Bharat should reach all deprived and vulnerable people in the country,” Vardhan added at the time. “I will make all efforts to convince the remaining states and union territories to bring the benefits of the scheme to their people and ensure that no eligible person is deprived of these benefits.”

Some of Ayushman Bharat’s holdout states have expressed some willingness to look at implementing the scheme. However, they have generally declined to do so, typically in favour of implementing their own healthcare models such as Mohalla Clinics in Delhi and Aarogya Sri in Telangana. 

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