West Bengal: West Bengal has once again indicated that it is not on same page as that of central government on Ayushman Bharat health scheme. The reason of the clash is West Bengal’s very own Swasthya Sathi health scheme.
Under Government of India’s Ayushman Bharat scheme, anyone who has paid health premiums in time gets a cashless cover of Rs 5 lakh in state-run hospitals.
Similarly West Bengal government’s two-year-old Swasthya Sathi health scheme provides free treatment to all patients in government hospitals.
The state has expressed reservations about implementing central government’s scheme. The reasons being cited are preparations for implementation of cashless services under West Bengal government’s scheme.
West Bengal MLA Nirmal Majhi defended his government and said, many of the schemes including Ayushman scheme benefitted the population below poverty line. I think Indian government is following state government’s programme and we are waiting for permission from the state before implementing schemes by central government. We have done remarkable improvement in the hospital sector.
But not all benefits promised by the state government are being passed on to the public. Sheikh Lalan, a patient in Calcutta Medical College complained, We are not getting anything for free. I had to buy medicines from outside.” Manju, another patient, said that in spite of the promise of free medical tests, she has had to spend thousands of rupees.