Chiranjeevi Health Insurance Scheme: Ex CM Ashok Gehlot Counters Doctors Association, Affirms Scheme Saved Poor Families from Selling Land for Treatment

In retaliation to the doctors' claims that the Chiranjeevi Scheme is a flop, former CM Ashok Gehlot clarified that misconceptions about the scheme are unfounded.
Leader of Opposition Tikaram Jully paid a visit to former CM Gehlot at his residence on wednesday.
Leader of Opposition Tikaram Jully paid a visit to former CM Gehlot at his residence on wednesday.

Jaipur- Refuting the claims of the Doctors Association, former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot defended the Chiranjeevi Health Insurance Scheme, emphasizing its positive impact on millions of lives.

With the departure of the Congress government from Rajasthan, private hospital operators have begun criticizing Congress's schemes.

In a pre-budget meeting with representatives from the medical field, chaired by Chief Minister Bhajanlal Sharma, private hospital operators labeled the Congress government's Chiranjeevi Health Insurance Scheme as the most impractical, undemocratic, and unsuccessful scheme of the century.

Officials from the Rajasthan Doctors Association attributed Congress's defeat mainly to the Chiranjeevi Scheme. The association suggested that the amount paid to private hospitals for free treatment under the scheme is very low, making it difficult for private hospitals to operate effectively in Rajasthan.

This has led to a reversal of the growing trend of medical tourism in the state. They pointed out that former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot had his hernia operation done at a hospital in Mumbai because private hospitals receive only Rs 13,000 to Rs 17,000 for a hernia operation under the Chiranjeevi Scheme, which is considered absurdly low.

In their suggestions to CM Bhajanlal Sharma, the association stated that the benefits of any free and subsidized scheme should be provided only to the weak and poor families of the state.

Association President Sarvesh Sharan Joshi suggested increasing the amount payable to private hospitals under the Chief Minister Ayushman Arogya Scheme.

Meanwhile, former CM Ashok Gehlot cleared misconceptions surrounding the scheme and addressed the claims by a private doctor regarding his hernia treatment.

He said, "In the pre-budget discussion yesterday, a doctor’s factually incorrect statement about my operation came to my attention through the media. My hernia operation was done in February 2019, while the Chiranjeevi Scheme started in May 2021."

He added, "I received treatment for arterial blockage, toe fractures, and Happy Hypoxia after COVID-19 at SMS Hospital, Jaipur, which required a hospital stay. I utilized government schemes for my treatment. The Chiranjeevi Scheme has improved the lives of millions. Without this scheme, many poor and middle-class families would have had to sell their land and properties for treatment costs. Private hospital doctors should refrain from making false statements that tarnish a good scheme and the noble medical profession."

"Our government introduced the Right to Health law to ensure free treatment in emergency situations. The current government should collaborate with doctor associations to quickly formulate and implement the rules for the Right to Health so that every resident of Rajasthan has the right to treatment," Gehlot emphasized.

Touted as former Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s flagship scheme, which was expected to bring him back to power, the Chiranjeevi Scheme offered cashless medical insurance of up to Rs 25 lakh. This universal health scheme has been available to all families of Rajasthan since May 1, 2021. The scheme was announced in the state budget of 2021-22.

With this scheme, Rajasthan became the first state to provide universal health insurance cover to all people.

The Rajasthan government was covering the insurance premiums for all beneficiaries under the Mukhyamantri Chiranjeevi Swasthya Bima Yojana. However, families outside the beneficiary category were required to pay an annual premium of Rs 850 to avail themselves of the scheme. Over 1.42 crore families were reportedly benefiting from the Chiranjeevi Scheme in Rajasthan.

Chiranjeevi health insurance card holders in Rajasthan are in a fix as there is still no clarity on whether the BJP government, which came into power in November last year, would continue the scheme. Notably, in January, the BJP government announced to merge the Chiranjeevi scheme with the Centre's Ayushman Bharat program which offers medical cost coverage up to 5 lakh rupees.

As July approaches, many families are grappling with the uncertainty surrounding the renewal of the Chiranjeevi scheme. They are unsure whether the government will extend the scheme or if they will need to turn to private medical insurance providers, who typically charge annual premiums ranging from 10,000 to 15,000 rupees for coverage up to 5 lakhs. This uncertainty is causing concerns about healthcare coverage options and potential financial implications for families.

Leader of Opposition Tikaram Jully paid a visit to former CM Gehlot at his residence on wednesday.
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