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Rahul Gandhi has a plan to counter PM Modi’s Ayushman Bharat

FE Online
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Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Friday said that his party was considering a healthcare act to guarantee minimum healthcare to all Indians. He also said that the Congress, if voted to power, would increase the expenditure on healthcare to about 3 per cent of GDP. Rahul Gandhi made this promise while interacting with health professionals in Chhattisgarh.

“In our manifesto, we are considering a Right to Healthcare Act where we guarantee certain minimum healthcare to all Indians, increasing our expenditure to about 3% of GDP and increasing the number of healthcare professionals,” the Congress chief said.

Rahul Gandhi criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flagship Ayushman Bharat under which the Centre provides health insurance cover of up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year. He said: “My main criticism of Ayushman Bharat is, it gives insurance without a proper support structure from hospitals and medical professionals.”

Gandhi further said that healthcare is something that is provided by a large number of stakeholders- ASHA workers, doctors and other medical professionals, businesses etc. “Each stakeholder’s territory should be defended,” Gandhi added.

The Congress president said that the Ayushman Bharat is a scheme targeting only a limited number of healthcare issues. “It is a handout to the richest businessmen in India,” he said. Ayushman Bharat was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year in September.

Dubbed as the world’s biggest health assurance scheme, Ayushman Bharat will benefit over 50 crore people from the most vulnerable section of the society. The scheme covers medical and hospitalization expenses for almost all secondary care and most of the tertiary care procedures.

Rahul Gandhi has also promised to introduce a minimum income guarantee scheme for all the Indians. “When we form the government, we will declare a minimum income line. Anyone below this minimum income line will be brought up to the mark. This will reduce poverty in the country,” he said on Thursday.