New Delhi, June 19 (IANS) Calling the Centre’s healthcare plan Ayushman Bharat Yojana a “white elephant”, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Wednesday said the crisis brought about by Bihar’s Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) has raised questions on the level of preparedness and the effectiveness of health schemes being run by the Central government.
Over 110 children have died due to AES in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur and neighbouring districts in a fortnight.
Speaking to the media, Sisodia extended all help to the Bihar government and said the crisis has raised questions on the level of preparedness and the effectiveness of health schemes such as Ayushman Bharat being promoted by the Central government.
He said the scheme has failed and is not practical. “What is required is strengthening the healthcare infrastructure and the network access for all. Ayushman Bharat is more about paying the insurance companies than taking care of the health of the people,” said the Deputy Chief Minister.
Sisodia said several hundred children are still admitted in Bihar’s hospitals and are battling for life.
“The entire country is concerned for the children of Bihar,” he said.
He said the country needs better healthcare infrastructure to avert Bihar-like crisis, not Ayushman Bharat.
“The BJP and its Central ministers have been advertising the Ayushman Bharat scheme. This crisis has proved that the scheme is a white elephant,” he said.
“The scheme does not provide healthcare coverage to most ordinary citizens since the eligibility requirements mandate that persons who own telephones, 2-wheelers or fridges are not covered under the scheme. Moreover, the scheme does not provide coverage for primary healthcare and out-patient treatment,” said Sisodia.
He said the tragedy proved that what people truly need is a strong network of healthcare infrastructure, not insurance schemes associated with Ayushman Bharat.
Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain said it was puzzling as to why children suffering from AES in Bihar are not being treated at private hospitals under Ayushman Bharat scheme.
“Most of the children suffering (from AES) would have qualified under the eligibility requirements of Ayushman Bharat. Yet we find that all children are being treated at government hospitals. What has happened to scheme in this case?”
“The Delhi government extends complete support to the Bihar government to deal with the healthcare crisis in whichever form required, he added.