IMA demand of removing govt hospitals from Ayushman Bharat lacks vision: Dr Harsh Vardhan
New Delhi: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan rejected the IMA's demand of taking government hospitals out of the ambit of health insurance scheme Ayushman Bharat, saying the statement by the doctors' body lacks "any basis or vision".
The Indian Medical Association (IMA) said that government hospitals should be removed from the ambit of the Centre's ambitious Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojna (AB-PMJAY) as services there are already free and if the government wants to fund public health establishments, they should do it directly.
"They need to have access to quality healthcare whether provided by the government or the private sector. It is the government hospitals which provide healthcare services in the remotest areas of the country which have no private hospitals. Even the new medical colleges will be set up in the aspirational districts," the minister said.
"The idea of excluding government hospitals from the ambit of Ayushman Bharat is absolutely absurd and needs to be rejected," he added.
IMA's National President Santanu Sen said on Sunday that if the government wants to fund public hospitals they should do so directly.
"Why should it be done through insurance companies by paying 15 per cent to them," he said while demanding that the AB-PMJAY be restricted to the private sector.
"There is no additional benefit accruing to people by including government hospitals in AB-PMJAY as services in public hospitals are free already," Sen said.
The IMA also opposed the current structure and mode of implementation of AB-PMJAY, alleging that the insurance model of healthcare delivery is a failed one.
India should not continue the insurance route for healthcare delivery as the administrative cost and the "unholy nexus" with insurance companies point towards profit maximization rather than quality health care delivery, an IMA member said.