There is no trade-off between primary care and curative care; the policy challenge is to strengthen both. Ayushman Bharat does exactly that with its two legs.
Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY) has been the most talked about health sector scheme in recent times. Given the scale and ambition of the scheme – with its target group larger than the combined population of Canada, the United States and Mexico – it is not surprising. As could be expected, the scheme has a large number of supporters who are highly inspired by its vision and promise.
Sixteen years ago, when there was drought in Karnataka, farmers lost the capacity to buy healthcare. I was able to convince the state government to launch a micro health insurance scheme through cooperative societies with a premium of Rs 5 per month per person. The government was kind enough to agree to be the reinsurer. Four hundred hospitals across the state agreed to treat these patients. This is how the Yeshasvini micro health insurance scheme was born.