Maharashtra Becomes the First Indian State to Adopt Universal Healthcare

Mansukh Mandaviya, the union health minister, announced an improved, "co-branded" program on June 23 that will expand access to government health insurance to everyone in Maharashtra and offer a cover of Rs 5 lakh to every household for 12 crore people.

The updated program will now cover INR 5 lakh, or approximately $6,900, for 12 crore residents, regardless of whether they have ration cards, and would also cover 1,900 illnesses instead of 996.

One million citizens will receive co-branded cards by the end of August; the Center will pay the projected INR179 crore cost of producing the 12 million cards. Now, 2.22 crore people are enrolled in the MJPJAY program in Maharashtra.

Mandaviya, the deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, and state health authorities met jointly on June 23 to make this decision.

The AB-PMJAY flagship insurance program, which provides health coverage of 5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization, was implemented by the National Health Authority (NHA). In 33 states, this program is now in operation.

"Under the present MJPJAY scheme, there are close to 2.22 crore beneficiaries in the state. They are below-poverty-line citizens of Maharashtra who had yellow or orange ration cards. The improvised scheme shall cover citizens irrespective of what ration cards they hold," says the acting CEO of MJPJAY, Vinod Bondre.

"We had submitted ₹6,000 crore proposal to the Centre out of which ₹3,000 crore has been sanctioned to us," said Fadnavis.

Fadnavis claimed that they want to raise the scheme's impaneled hospital count. He added that the Center had approved ₹3000 crores in funding to develop the rural healthcare infrastructure.

Additionally, Mandaviya announced the creation of a 50-bed critical care facility in each state district, complete with a ventilator, oxygen, and other tools needed to handle patients' acute care needs. He predicted that more Jan Aushadhi Kendras — which are similar to pharmacies — would offer low-cost generic medications.

Mandaviya concludes: "At present, we have 600 such units. We plan to increase it to 1,000. The rise in non-communicable diseases and the long-term expenditure it involves for treatment, we felt that it was important to increase the number of Jan Aushadhi Kendras."

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