Odisha government Tuesday said it would examine fresh proposals of the Centre in regard to implementation of the Ayushman Bharat Scheme in the state. A delegation led by CEO of Ayushman Bharat, Dr Indu Bhusan met state Health minister Naba Kishore Das and chief secretary A P Padhi and told them that Odisha should take advantage of the national health assurance scheme. "Though we had rejected the Ayushman Bharat scheme earlier, now they (Centre) has come with some fresh proposals. We will examine those proposals and accept if they benefit the people of Odisha," Das told reporters after a meeting with the Ayushman Bharat officials. Though 25 states have already implemented the Ayushman Bharat scheme, only four states like Odisha, Telengana, West Bengal and Delhi governments have not accepted it.
"We have requested the Odisha government to accept the Ayushman Bharat scheme like other states in order to make it a national scheme. I am sure, the Ayushman Bharat will certainly benefit the state and its people. I believe that it will help the people of the state if they join, ... It becomes a truly national scheme," Bhusan told reporters. The Ayushman Bharat CEO said "The first round of talk has been very positive. More discussion will be held and I am hopeful that the state of Odisha will implement the scheme. As the state already has a very good and strong scheme, our challenge is how to converge Ayushman Bharat with the existing scheme in the state." Chief Secretary A P Padhi said that the delegation has apprised the state government about the benefits of the Ayushman Bharat scheme. "We have our own health assurance scheme in the name of Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana (BSKY). If the Centre wants to add to it, then the state will consider about implementation," Padhi said, adding that more discussions were required before taking a final decision.
The state government's BSKY envisages health benefit to poor up to Rs 5 lakh which is double the amount in the case of women beneficiaries. The Ayushman Bharat on the other hand has provision of health benefits up to Rs 5 lakh and nothing more for the women beneficiaries. The state government in 2018 had rejected the Centre's request to make Odisha part of the scheme on the ground that it has its own health assurance scheme which is much better than Ayushman Bharat scheme. Presently, the state's BSKY covers more than 69 lakh people of the state's 84 lakh families. This apart, the state government has signed agreement with 218 big hospitals inside the state and outside for providing emergency health service to the BSKY beneficiaries.