The launch of the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana in Ranchi, Jharkhand, on Sept. 23, 2018. (Photograph: Health Ministry/Twitter)

Ayushman Bharat Is A ‘Game Changer’, Says Arun Jaitley

Terming the government's flagship scheme Ayushman Bharat a “game changer” in healthcare, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday said as many as 6.85 lakh poor patients have been provided free hospital treatment in the first 100 days of the launch of the program.

He further said, on an average 5,000 claims are being settled every day since its roll out on Sep. 23, 2018.

"Once awareness of the scheme increases, it is anticipated that in the next few years, almost 1 crore-plus families will benefit each year," Jaitley said in a Facebook post titled “100 days of Ayushman Bharat”.

Posted by Arun Jaitley on Tuesday, January 1, 2019

The total number of hospitals covered by this scheme are both government hospitals and private hospitals, presently numbering 16,000 and increasing steadily. More than 50 percent of the implementing hospitals are in the private sector.

Jaitley said in the first 100 days, 6.85 lakh patients have been provided hospital treatment and 5.1 lakh claimants have availed of the scheme, for which payment has been released.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September launched the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana which aims to provide a coverage of Rs 5 lakh per family annually, benefitting more than 10.74 crore poor families or over 50 crore people for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation through a network of empanelled health care providers

Jaitley said this scheme is a "game changer" in healthcare and will cover 40 percent of the country's population which cannot afford to pay their medical bills. "Many people from the weaker sections avoided hospital treatment in order to avoid the burden of an unbearable payment. Today 40 percent of India's poorest are assured of a treatment in a hospital at the cost of public expenditure," he said.

He said although government employees, armed forces personnel and some corporate employees have healthcare support facilities, but 62.58 percent of the Indian population has to pay their healthcare bills themselves and most find it unaffordable.

He said the launch and implementation of the scheme, which is cashless and paperless, has been relatively problem-free.

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