The health insurance scheme called Chief Minister’s Hakselgi Tengbang (CMHT) introduced in N Biren Singh’s first term as chiefminister for the poor and underprivileged sections of the society was indeed a trailblazer in welfare and healthcare reforms. It even preceded the Ayushman Bharat launched by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The initiative germinated in N Biren’s mind through his interactions with the general public at Miyamgi Numit, Go to Hills and Go to Village where he encountered the plight of the poor and needy as against the rising cost of healthcare in both public and private sector hospitals. Despite several shortcomings in the initial stages of implementation of the CMHT scheme, reforms continued with practical experience gained in the process. One agrees that, the scheme was hastily planned and implemented.
The gaps were however filled up with feedback from several quarters and the coverage of the scheme spread to many different sections of the society. CMHT scheme was launched to provide “cashless” medical cover to BPL & AAY card holders, persons with differently abled and widows for up to Rs 2 lakh per family per year for sevn critical diseases and for up to Rs 50,000 for other identified general ailments. 57,530 families were enrolled under this scheme, out of whom 48,896 have been migrated to PMJAY. By the end of 2019, 8684 patients were treated at a cost of Rs 13.74 crore.
Newspaper hawkers and journalists have been included as eligible beneficiaries under CMHT. Today, the number of beneficiaries under both schemes had a quantum jump. There are 5.24 lakh beneficiaries for CMHT and around 3.5 lakh for Ayushman Bharat. As many as 300 villages have been covered under the Health for All Scheme so far, he said. The scheme will continue to cover all the villages.
In February this year just before the assembly elections, a new scheme named 'CM's Health for All' was launched. It aims to provide free door-to-door health check-ups by health experts, doctors & nurses in every village. Through this scheme, the Health department in collaboration with various agencies will monitor health conditions of the people including different cancers, and mental health.
The new cabinet headed by Chief Minister N Biren Singh has taken a decision to increase the amount of healthcare benefit to the tune of Rs 5 lakh from Rs 2 lakh, in tandem with Ayushman Bharat scheme. The scheme is now available in both public and private health institutions, thanks to the efforts of the chief minister. This is indeed commendable in terms of health insurance for the poor and underprivileged sections of the society.
In view of the changing global scenario impacting human health and the ongoing pandemic, it has become all the more important for policy makers to focus on enhancing health infrastructure including health professionals to adequately ensure health service to the general population. The intent for providing health security is clear, but it has to be backed by ensuring adequate infrastructure and professionals. Despite the carnage and utter chaos brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, it also became an opportunity for enhancing the health infrastructure in the state.
Number of hospital capacities including in the critical care sector had been enhanced in public sector hospitals and various health centres in the districts, besides support infrastructure including oxygen supply. The requirement of health professionals, including doctors and nurses has also been addressed to some extent by increasing the number of seats for MBBS courses in JNIMS and recently established medical institute in Churachandpur District Hospital. Besides RIMS, the state now has two other public health institutions and also one in the private sector.