Ayushman Bharat, Modi government’s health insurance scheme, would contribute to the extent of more than 1 lakh ‘long-term’ jobs in the next four years, CEO of the programme, Indu Bhushan told The Economic Times.
The health scheme, which provides Rs 5 lakh health cover to over 10 crore of India's poorest families, will require expansion of private hospitals, and this will directly create more than 100,000 skilled and semiskilled jobs. People will be needed in fields ranging from implementation support at central and state levels, and management support at the trust and insurance agencies.
The details were given by Bhushan as follows: Nearly 25,000 hospitals will be empanelled in the scheme to meet the demand of healthcare. Assuming that 300 new private hospitals are opened, each hospital employs 200 persons, 60,000 jobs will be created directly. There will also be short-term jobs, in addition to the above, in the roll out of the mission, as hospitals are constructed and patient guides -- `Ayushman Mitras’, as they are called -- are hired.
The ET report, however, also quoted Alex Thomas, President, Association of Healthcare Providers (India) who said that the scheme at present is not financially viable for private hospitals to expand to under-served areas, as the package rates have “not been set scientifically.” He also said that India lacked adequate specialist doctors, in the absence of whom, the scheme would not work, even if other staff were available.
Package rates related to health insurance schemes have consistently and historically been a major source of contention between governments and private healthcare providers.
However, just two days ago, Business Today had reported that the governing council of AB-NHPM has decided to allow state governments to retain the package rates negotiated with healthcare providers for their respective state-level health schemes, even after they integrate with the national scheme. This was done to allay fears of private hospitals that were finding central rates low.
The official roll out of the programme is expected to be announced on 15 August.
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