Terming the allegations levelled on Captain Amarinder Singh led Punjab Government’s Sarbat Sehat Bima Yojna as baseless & depicting frustration of SAD, the Health & Family Welfare Minister Mr. Balbir Singh Sidhu said that the Punjab Government covered the 76 percent population of the State under ‘Ayushman Bharat Sarbat Sehat Bima Yojna’ to facilitate 1396 health packages which makes Punjab one of the leading State in terms of population covered under this scheme.
He also added that it was also decided to reserve only 124 treatment services in Government Health Institutes out of 1396 health packages entailed under the Universal Health Insurance Scheme.
He said that on one hand, the initiative can elevate the income of Government Hospitals, on the other hand to ensure that the patient does not suffer inconvenience in case of emergency, referral would be allowed by Government hospital to the empanelled Private hospital. In case if the treatment is not available with the Government hospital within the District, the patient can be referred to any empanelled Private hospital.
Mr. Balbir Singh Sidhu also elaborated that at first glance, the statement of the Shiromani Akali Dal shows that they are advocating expensive treatment of primary and secondary level available in private hospitals and they also want to end the autonomy of Government Hospitals thereby posing a danger to their existence.
He also divulged that before levelling the allegations on the functioning of Government Hospitals, SAD leader Dr. Daljit Singh Cheema must give a thought to the fact that he is also from this respectful profession. He said that as a doctor, is he questioning the capability and performance of the skilled medical officers working in government hospitals?
The Health Minister further said that under the visionary and progressive leadership of Captain Amarinder Singh, the State Government has taken the historical decision to further strengthen the health and education sector and this has created an atmosphere of fear in the Shiromani Akali Dal about its future as the latter would be left with no agenda for its rabble rousing.
He said that Presently, Government hospitals are already providing free treatment under NHM programs which would have been diverted to the Private hospitals had the 124 procedures not been restricted to Government hospitals. It is to be noted that 124 procedures are secondary care procedures, facilities of which are available in the Government hospitals.
For treatment of tertiary care procedures that involve high cost surgeries or procedures, people are free to go to any of the empanelled Private hospitals. It is very essential to handhold the Public sector to enable them to compete with the Private sector.
He said that this is path taken by most of the neighbouring States as well as Southern States of the Country that have their successful Healthcare Insurance programs. For instance, in Haryana around 146 healthcare procedures are reserved, in Tamil Nadu 681 procedures, in Maharashtra 460 procedures, Madhya Pradesh 472 procedures, Kerala 235, Gujrat 200 procedures and in Karnataka 443 procedures are reserved in the Government hospitals.
The Health Minister said that the Government Civil Hospitals have the required Doctors and Infrastructure to provide treatment of those packages that have been reserved. The packages reserved are those packages that have higher rate of abuse amongst the Insurance Scheme.
The higher tertiary care surgeries such as all heart surgeries, burn treatment, cancer treatment, any other complicated or higher-end surgeries, dialysis, etc. all are open in both Private and Public hospitals.
Replying the another issue raised by SAD, he said that not only 250 listed government hospitals, but all government hospitals in the state are being strengthened at all costs by the State Government so as to ensure the health facilities on the door steps of citizens residing in rural and remote areas which is one of foremost plank of Captain Amarinder Singh led Punjab Government.
Underscoring the features of Sarbat Sehat Bima Yojna which provides health coverage up to Rs. 5 lakh per family, he said that this is just first phase of the scheme and even now, there has been a positive environment created to ensure the robust health of needy citizens.
He said that the major purpose of this historic initiative is to enable the citizens to be self dependent to get the expensive and most needed treatment services. He said that most importantly, health is the basic right of all people, not only of rich class who are easily getting the treatment from the high profile private hospitals by paying expensive charges.
The Minister also divulged that under the insurance scheme of previous government, only limited health facility of Rs. 50,000 was being provided to the each family and because of worse and pity conditions of Government hospitals in previous regime they preferred the private hospitals which also caused the loss to state exchequer.
In the end, the insurance plan proved failure as the previous government failed to pay the premium to insurance companies. Under this Scheme, the people can avail benefits upto Rs. 5 lakh and this Scheme has a well-defined monitoring mechanism at District as well as State level.