West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday warned private hospitals and nursing homes of license cancellation if they refuse to acknowledge her government's Swasthya Sathi health card from patients.
She drew parallels between her government's health programme and the centre's "Ayushman Bharat", saying the Union government runs its scheme on 60:40 ratio, while the state fully funds people under "Swasthya Sathi".
"If anyone (private hospitals and nursing homes) refuses to provide healthcare facilities under the 'Swasthya Sathi' scheme, the government has the power to cancel its license. This health scheme is for the poor. No one should harass the poor," Ms Banerjee said, urging people to lodge a police complaint in the face of any harassment.
Some reports have suggested that some hospitals have refused to accept the 'Swasthya Sathi' cards -- a health scheme launched in 2016 to provide a cover of up to Rs 5 lakh per annum to eligible families for secondary and tertiary care.
With an eye on 2021 assembly polls, however, Ms Banerjee, in November 2020, extended the cashless health benefit to every citizen in the state.
"There are many top-notch hospitals which have refused to accept the government's 'Swasthya Sathi' health card on occasions. We want to tell them that they do not have an option. Even small nursing homes in the districts, too, have to accept the cards," she said.
"We are also enlisting smaller nursing homes in the districts under this health scheme so that citizens can avail facilities close to their residence. We would also speak to them, and the state's chief secretary will meet them so that no person is harassed," Ms Banerjee added.