PMJAY- PMBJP is shorthand for TsuNaMo

Ayushman Bharat & Generic Medicine programs proved masterstrokes for Modi in 2019 elections

New Delhi: PMJAY- PMBJP are music to the ears of poor patients and people of India. And spell bound, they came in droves to fill the coffer of a fakir with votes.

But for Modi, they would not have even imagined the free treatment and ultra cheap medicines they are getting. Also, they are fully assured that they are in the safe hands of PM Modi and would not be left to die for want of money if and when they fall ill.

A facebook post of some Rakesh Mittal put it succinctly, saying, ‘ Modi’s victory is the victory of that sick person who could not get treatment for 4-5 years because being hard up of money but today he is getting free treatment.’ Thanks to Ayushman Bharat. Really, it was never so good for patients in India.

Twin huge healthcare programs Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP also known generic medicines program) & Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY, also called Ayushman Bharat or Modicare) endeared vast swathe of poor and middle class population to PM Modi no end. No wonder, NaMo assumed the nickname of Modicine.

Healthcare leaders have hailed these flagship healthcare programs masterstrokes of PM Modi and they also believe that they must have garnered massive votes for his mammoth victory. They say His fingers are spot on, on people’s pulse.

Sachin Kumar Singh, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Bureau of Pharma Public Sector Undertakings (BPPI), who worked with missionary zeal to make Jan Aushadhi Pariyojana a grand success, is ecstatic at PM Modi resounding victory and attribute some part of it to generic medicine program. Coupled with equally passionate Mansukh Mandaviya, Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilizers, PMBJP became a household name in the country.

Talking to Medicare News, Sachin k Singh, said, ‘The kind of work PM Modi’s government has done in the field of healthcare is unprecedented. Providing quality medicines at such cheap price in a country like India is really a miracle. Even poor people who hardly make a living for two meals a day are getting ultra cheap quality medicines. PM Modi empathised with the sufferings of people due to costly branded medicines and embalmed them. Most of the credit goes to Mansukh Mandaviya jee, who would day in, day out make me up and doing to make this program a huge success. He took my meeting even on the day counting were being done. Due to his leadership, Jan Aushadhi stores went up from 400 to 5200. With this program, we saved 2000 crores of people’s hard earned money between 2018 -19.’

Mr Singh added, ‘Poor patients’ prayers have handsomely paid off in elections for him. People rejected greed and allurement of freebies and chose self respect instead and voted for NaMo.’

Ayushman Bharat had got instant thumbs up from Dr K Srinath Reddy, President, Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), from the word go. A globally renowned public health policy expert,

Dr Reddy believes that PMJAY, the biggest government funded health protection scheme, have proved a masterpiece for garnering votes.

Talking to Medicare News, Dr Reddy, for whom Universal Health Coverage is the Holy Grail, said, ‘The National Health Policy (2017) ushered in a charter for transforming the health system to address unmet health service needs and changing public health priorities. 2018 marked a year of great national and global excitement about Ayushman Bharat. Its two components were launched by the Prime Minister during the course of that year, after the budgetary announcement in February 2018.  The promise of comprehensive primary health care, close to home through Health and Wellness Centres,  was attractive to people. Cost coverage of hospitalisation charges for 40% of the people, through PMJAY, had great appeal to the potential beneficiaries from poor and vulnerable sections.

Dr Reddy further said, ‘Even though Ayushman Bharat did not feature prominently in the campaign speeches in the last stages of campaign this year, it continued to communicate its promises through radio and TV messaging. It has certainly been   welcomed as a welfare measure by the poor and would have contributed to the electoral victory.’

‘The scheme would certainly need higher financial resources, apart from some redesign, to succeed in its objectives. As the Prime Minister would like it to be an important and enduring part of his legacy,  I expect more resources to be allocated by the central government. If the state governments too can be stimulated to increase their health budgets, the scheme will become sustainable. I believe the scheme should be expanded in scope and reach, with some redesign features. The two components of the scheme need better administrative and operational integration,’ Dr Reddy added.

Praising contribution of Prof V.K. Paul, the architect of Ayushman Bharat, Dr Reddy said, ‘Prof. V.K. Paul, who was one of the principal designers of the Ayushman Bharat programme, is likely to provide continued leadership for advancing the programme across the country. His expertise will be one of the key ingredients of its success.’ Dr VK Paul is the member of Niti Ayog and heads Health and Nutrition Verticals there.

Congratulating Modi profusely on thumping victory for second term, Dr Prathap C Reddy, Chairman, Apollo Hospitals Group, said, ‘I look forward to a continued focus on healthcare with Ayushmaan Bharat growing in scope to cover more beneficiaries with a prudent approach to pricing and reimbursements to encourage widespread adoption.’

Swadeep Srivastava, Founder and Managing Partner, India Virtual Hospital is a dyed in wool supporter of PM Modi for his brilliant and transforming idea of India and what he has done for healthcare. Talking to Medicare News, Mr Srivastava, a health policy expert and healthcare entrepreneur, said, ‘ Modi ji’s Healthcare Policies have been quite popular & pro poor & even pro middle class & would have made great contribution for his govt. get re-elected for 2nd term with a thumping majority.

Mr Srivastava further said, ‘The key policies which were popular amongst the majority of patients & have benefited lakhs of families directly, in my view, include first Ayushmaan Bharat- PM JAY.

It’s salient feature of assuring up to 5 lacs of Health Insurance coverage to almost 50% of the population (10 crores families) at the BoP has been a super success not just by few thousand of families benefiting out of it in last 3-4 months of its on ground implementation, but also by the fact that it caught the imagination of all Indians, that there’s someone who took this bold step of at least assuring us ‘protection from State of mysery’ in case a major disease hits any family member in near future. In Healthcare & mainly due to the increasing burden of non-communicable diseases, the fear of succumbing to the financial burden of getting proper treatment in private hospitals has been roving high amongst mainly the middle class, urban poor & the villagers & this scheme just hits at the right spot to ‘reassure that the govt is fully with the family in case of any such perceived miss-happening on medical front’.

Swadeep Srivastava added, ‘The next most popular move by Modi Govt has been the price capping of consumables & implants & the most popular & controversial has been the capping of stent prices. This I would say has been a double smart move as a) it has benefited almost more than 50% of the diseased population which have been treated by Drs in Cardio & Ortho using these implants & 30-40 % reduction in prices has directly benefited these patients & families; b) as most of the benefits in stents & Ortho implants margins (majority share) was pocketed by the Hospitals & not the manufacturer, hence this capping doesn’t much effect the manufacturer class & it doesn’t pose any danger to the industry as a whole, hence it was quite sustainable & became a roaring success and popular amongst masses.’

To sum up, ultra cheap high quality generic medicines, Ayushman Bharat and capping of prices of stents and implants have undoubtedly heralded ‘Achhe Din’for patients all and sundry. For commoners, it is the Modi the Chemist who is providing them ultra cheap quality medicines. Patients’ joys know no bounds saving so much on medicines which used to cost a bomb for them earlier. Some would think they are getting ultra cheap medicines from the shop of Modi ji.


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