Declining the central government's offer to implement the Ayushman Bharat health scheme, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday wrote to Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, saying the city government is "offering ten times bigger and comprehensive health scheme".
In a letter, dated June 7, Kejriwal said replacing the existing scheme with Ayushman Bharat will be a loss for the people of Delhi.
"I am happy to tell you that Ayushman Bharat was already implemented in Delhi long time back. The Delhi government's health scheme is 10 times bigger and comprehensive than Ayushman Bharat," Kejriwal said in the two-page letter in Hindi.
Kejriwal's comment came after Harsh Vardhan wrote to him along with the Chief Ministers of Odisha, Telangana and West Bengal, urging them to join the Centre's flagship health insurance scheme.
Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain had also said that the AAP government will not implement the Ayushman Bharat scheme in the city.
Jain had argued that if the Centre's Ayushman Bharat is so good, then "why are people from Haryana and Uttar Pradesh coming to Delhi government hospitals to seek treatment?"
Kejriwal, too, raised the same point in his letter, saying despite Ayushman Bharat being in place in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, lakhs of patients from these two states come to Delhi every day to get medical treatment.
He also said that hardly anyone from Delhi is going to these states for treatment, which indicates that Delhi's health scheme is functioning well.
Centre's Ayushman Bharat aims to provide coverage of Rs 5 lakh per family annually for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation through a network of empanelled healthcare providers.
Comparing it with Delhi's health scheme, Kejriwal said under the Ayushman Bharat, there is less than 10 per cent of beneficiaries in Delhi while in the AAP government's scheme, every citizen is a beneficiary. "This means Delhi's scheme is covering two crore people."
Those earning more than Rs 10,000 per month are not eligible for Ayushman Bharat, "which means those earning less than minimum wages are out of this scheme," Kejriwal said.
The Delhi government has set the minimum wages for the unskilled labourers at Rs 14,000 per month, for semi-skilled worker Rs 15,400 per month and for skilled worker Rs 16,962 per month.
Kejriwal said in Ayushman Bharat, beneficiary will get treatment of up to Rs 5 lakh, but under the Delhi government scheme, there is no such limit and the government bears all expenses, even if it is Rs 30 lakh.
He said the Centre and Delhi government both are aiming to provide best and cheapest health care to the people.
He also said that the health scheme of Delhi is being praised by the people across the globe.
"It would serve no purpose if we were to end the existing scheme and implement the Centre's version. The Central scheme will result in loss for the people," Kejriwal wrote.
Kejriwal told the Union Health Minister to give suggestion, if he has any, to the Delhi government to improve the existing scheme in the city.
"You are a doctor. If you, in your personal capacity, want to suggest something to my government, we will welcome your suggestions," said Kejriwal.
"If there is any point in the Ayushman Bharat scheme where the Delhi government is lacking, do let us know so that we can add it in our scheme and improve it," he said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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