Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) or Ayushman Bharat, as it called, provides free healthcare to approximately 50 Crore Indians (over 10.74 Cr poor and vulnerable families). The PMJAY official web-site calls itself the world’s largest health insurance/assurance scheme fully financed by the Government. It is, surely, a feature-rich scheme.
Each family gets a cover of Rs. 5 lacs per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization. There is no restriction of the family size, age or gender. All pre-existing conditions are covered from day one. It covers up to 3 days of pre-hospitalization and 15 days post-hospitalization expenses such as diagnostics and medicines.
With so many benefits, for so many people, it should cost a lot. The amount spent to cover the treatment of PMJAY beneficiaries has to be substantial. Imagine the cost of treating 50 Crore people. Surprise, surprise. The amount actually spent is quite less. In fact, given the magnitude of the scope, the cost is negligible.
PMJAY was announced in September 2018. Today, we are in end-November 2020. Given the delays in scheme execution, let’s consider that the scheme has completed 2 years taking 2 months as a grace period. So, what is the amount for the treatment of 50 Crore Indians in these 2 years?
As per the media report, it is Rs. 17,000 Cr, cumulative to date. This comes to Rs. 8,500 Cr a year for 50 Crore people. Per person per year, this comes to Rs. 170/-. This is the amount that a single person spends on secondary and tertiary care in a year, a full year, – Rs. 170/-.
Ok, we should not take it per person. Not every person requires secondary and tertiary care in a year. So, what should be the ratio? 1:10 or 1:20 or 1:50, let’s us take it at 1:100. Meaning, only one person in every 100 will require hospitalization in one full year. This would make per year actual to Rs. 17,000/-. This Rs. 17,000/- covers secondary and tertiary care with 3 days of pre-hospitalization and 10 days of post-hospitalization, with diagnostics and medicine, for one person.
Let’s look at it differently. The total number of beneficiaries cumulative has been 1.4 Cr. Meaning, 70 lacs a year. Out of a population of 50 Crores that PMJAY is targeting, this is not even 2% in one full year. 50 Crores is a substantial data-set and can be extrapolated to the entire Indian population of 130 Crores. This would imply that less than 2% of Indians require secondary and tertiary care every year.
Government’s figures and execution cannot be questioned. What would this imply? It only means one thing – Indians are the healthiest. They just don’t require hospitalization, and even when they do, the cost is so minuscule.
The Healthcare to GDP comparison
As per the Government’s data, 8500 Cr is the health cost for 50 Crore Indians. So, for 130 Crore Indians, the cost will be 22,100 Crore. India’s GDP is 203.04 lac crore. As % to GDP, health spends for entire of India’s population comes to 0.1%. Let’s compare it with some other countries.
USA spends 17.7% of the GDP on healthcare. Australia spends 9.6% of the GDP on healthcare. United Kingdom spends 10.0% of the GDP on healthcare. In the EU, healthcare expenditure amounts to 9.9% of the GDP. Removing the USA as a country of weaklings, we can safely assume that other developed countries spend 10% of their GDP for the healthcare of its citizens.
To recap, India spends 0.1% of the GDP, extrapolating the actual healthcare cost of 50 Crore Indians to a population of 130 Crore And, other countries end up spending 10% of the GDP. How is this possible?
It only means one thing that the Indians are the healthiest inhabitants of the world. If not for PMJAY, we would have never known this alternate reality. The Government, the media, everybody should highlight this fact all over the world. All the countries would come knocking at our doors to know the secret of our health.
Hip, hip, hurray. Three cheers for India and healthy Indians.
Bloody hell, when the world over, the countries are spending 10% of their GDP on healthcare expenses, what is India doing spending pro-rata of 0.1% of GDP for 50 Crore Indians? This is an absolute and complete dereliction of responsibility.
The Government will come up with several reasons – all the beneficiaries have not been identified, hospital coverage is missing in some areas, salaries of health staff is captured elsewhere etc.
Well, even after 2 years of PMJAY being in operation, the Government reaches only 0.1% of the GDP when the other countries are at 10%, wonder when we will ever catch up? Another 100 years, at this rate.
Indians are surely not the healthiest, but maybe the tardiest.