The Indian Medical Association, the biggest body of doctors in India, finds pricing of procedures under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s national insurance scheme inadequate. That’s triggered a debate if Aayushman Bharat will achieve its intended objective.
The rates are far too low to provide quality treatment to patients, Vinod Kumar Monga, honorary finance secretary at IMA, said in an interview to BloombergQuint. The cost structure is “humanly impossible” for doctors to offer treatment that otherwise is much more expensive, he said, adding that the system should be made viable for everyone to work “enthusiastically”.
The scheme, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to launch on Independence Day, covers about 10.74 crore below-poverty-line families for Rs 5 lakh each a year. It will insure 1,354 medical and surgical packages for conditions including cancer, cardiology, genetic and mental disorders. Another 5 crore families may be added as there’s a plan to even include above-poverty-line families covered by similar plans in different states, BloombergQuint reported earlier.
Indu Bhushan, chief executive officer at Ayushman Bharat National Health Protection Mission, “strongly believes” the tariffs would work. The number of people covered at about 50 crore should also drive the costs down, he said.
Vinod Kumar Paul, member at NITI Aayog who is involved in designing the scheme, agreed. The process followed to determine the rates has been “robust and sincere”, he said pointing out comparable rates at similar state-run and central schemes. The information, he said, “did not come out of thin air”.
Watch the full debate here: