Sunday, April 11, 2021

Is BJP Spreading Misinformation on Mamata Banerjee’s Universal Health Insurance Scheme?

Kolkata: After a whispering marketing campaign that lasted a couple of days, Bharatiya Janata Get together has formally levelled a brand new allegation: the Mamata Banerjee authorities’s common medical insurance protection scheme is a hoax. The BJP’s West Bengal unit president Dilip Ghosh made the allegation on Thursday with a Fb submit.

Swasthya Sathi, the medical insurance scheme that the state’s ruling celebration, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) considers its trump card, was not too long ago prolonged to the state’s whole inhabitants, solely retaining out these already having fun with government-funded medical insurance advantages.

In the midst of the Duare Sarkar, or ‘authorities at your door’ marketing campaign, greater than half of the attendees at numerous occasions enrolled themselves for the Swasthya Sathi scheme, indicating its recognition. The scheme gives cashless insurance coverage protection of as much as Rs 5 lakh per 12 months per household, is issued within the title of a girl within the household, and if the girl is married she will add her mother and father as a part of the household.

The BJP, which has so lengthy been attacking the Mamata Banerjee authorities for not implementing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Ayushman Bharat medical insurance scheme within the state, has not been capable of proceed with the road since Swasthya Sathi was introduced.

After calling the chief minister’s pet scheme a hoax, Dilip Ghosh on Thursday mentioned: “If out of the state’s 10 crore inhabitants even 5% seeks its advantages, it will price the state’s exchequer of Rs 50,000 crore a 12 months. However this 12 months the state’s well being finances is altogether Rs 12,000 crore. The place will cash for Swasthya Sathi come from?”

The BJP arrived at a determine of Rs 1 lakh as expenditure on common per 12 months for each individual taking the advantages of the scheme.

Senior BJP leaders have mentioned the identical in public rallies as properly, attempting to persuade folks that the Mamata Banerjee authorities is attempting to idiot voters forward of the meeting elections due in one other 4 months.

‘Exaggerated fee’

State well being secretary Narayan Swarup Nigam mentioned that the federal government has not engaged any insurance coverage firm and subsequently doesn’t must pay any premium upfront.

“Initially, 5% of the state’s inhabitants getting hospitalised is a extremely exaggerated fee. By no means achieve this many individuals get hospitalised directly. It could at most be round 1% of the inhabitants. And second, the nationwide common for per individual expenditure in hospitals is round Rs 15,000-Rs 20,000. So, it’s very a lot manageable and inside our finances allocation,” Nigam mentioned.

About 1% of the state’s estimated inhabitants claiming Rs 20,000 per 12 months on a mean ought to price the state Rs 2,000 crore.

“We had engaged the Indian Statistical Institute for finding out attainable expenditure and it’s based mostly on their examine that we’ve got made all our preparations and estimations,” he added.

The TMC’s Rajya Sabha chief and nationwide spokesperson Derek O’Brien mentioned that the state finances for Swasthya Sathi, which was launched in 2016, had been Rs 925 crore per 12 months. With the brand new inclusions, for 2021, will probably be Rs 2,000 crore.

“Ayushman Bharat covers solely 40% of India’s inhabitants and it’s funded partly (60%) by the Centre and the remainder of the bills (40%) are borne by the state. Swasthya Sathi is totally funded by the state authorities and covers the complete inhabitants,” O’Brien mentioned.

The enlisted well being establishments embody about 1,500 within the state and a few distinguished ones outdoors it.

The Ayushman Bharat instance

Chandrima Bhattacharya, deputy minister of well being, mentioned that journalists ought to first ask BJP leaders and Union ministers how Ayushman Bharat works. “The opposition, particularly the BJP, are spreading misinformation as a result of the Bengal authorities’s scheme is incomes reward from every person,” she mentioned.

The Centre had allotted Rs 6,556 for Ayushman Bharat (finances estimate) within the finances for 2019-20 however on February 1, 2020 finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman revised the finances at Rs 3,314 crore (revised estimate).

On condition that it covers 40% of India’s estimated inhabitants of 138 crore in 2020, the estimated beneficiary scale is round 55 crore. Going by Bengal BJP’s argument, if even 5% of these entitled (2.75 crore) search Rs 1 lakh profit per 12 months, the Centre ought to have needed to pay Rs 2,75,000 crore per 12 months.

On December 10, the TMC claimed that 1.4 crore households had been introduced below the protection of this group insurance coverage scheme, 13.2 lakh folks obtained their remedies, and the federal government has but spent Rs 1,291 crore.

On December 15, the state authorities claimed 60% of the state’s inhabitants had enrolled for the scheme, a superb variety of them through the ‘Duare Sarkar’ marketing campaign.

Remedy in West Bengal’s authorities hospitals are free.

Non-public hospitals

Nonetheless, personal hospitals not too long ago urged the state authorities to overview the charges for remedy below this scheme, arguing that the precise price of remedy was increased. Additionally they urged the federal government to launch funds as early as attainable, because the delay on the federal government’s finish was affecting the hospitals’ monetary well being.

The state authorities, whereas agreeing to contemplate their proposal, requested the hospital authorities to make sure that nobody holding a scheme card was refused admission. Just lately, there had been a number of allegations that non-public hospitals have been adopting to numerous ploys to refuse admission to folks holding Swasthya Sathi playing cards.

On the political entrance, whereas the TMC has been highlighting circumstances of sufferers receiving the cardboard whereas on hospital beds or in ambulances and them availing themselves of the free remedy, the BJP has highlighted a couple of circumstances of individuals being refused admission by personal hospitals.

“We investigated the alleged circumstances of refusal. In some circumstances, the refusal was because of an inadvertent mistake by the cardholder. Some folks, who already had their names enrolled, had re-enrolled their names through the current ‘Duare Sarkar’ camps. Thus, the brand new playing cards they obtained acquired marked as duplicates. Once they produced this new card in hospitals, the authorities requested for the unique one,” mentioned a senior well being division official who didn’t wish to be named.

Over the previous one week, the state authorities has began consciousness campaigns asking folks to not enrol afresh if they’ve already enrolled.

Snigdhendu Bhattacharya is a journalist and writer based mostly in Kolkata.

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