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Harsh Vardhan debunks Kejriwal's claim on Delhi health scheme

New Delhi: As the war of words continues over the implementation of Ayushman Bharat scheme in Delhi, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Saturday debunked Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's claims on the state government's health scheme, saying that the scheme is still in the planning stage.

In response to the AAP chief's letter to the Union Health Minister, where Kejriwal had said that the Delhi government's health scheme is "ten times bigger and comprehensive" than Centre's flagship Ayushman Bharat programme, Vardhan wrote a letter to the Delhi CM inviting him to work together with the Centre for the "larger good" of people of Delhi.

In the letter, Vardhan expressed his anguish over Delhi CM's letter that was released on social media and said that his response shows that he is least interested in the welfare of the people of Delhi. The claim that the Delhi government is implementing free health care and, therefore, need not implement Ayushman Bharat is "baseless", the Union Health Minister stated in his letter.

"Be part of the historical health sector revolution that has been visualised by our Prime Minister Narendra Modiji. Ayushman Bharat is the world's most ambitious and largest free government healthcare programme. Let us join to celebrate each milestone in the journey towards New India," Vardhan said.

Refuting the statements of the Kejriwal, Vardhan further stated that while all the states can claim to be providing free health care through government hospitals, in reality, citizens still have to spend a lot from their pocket to get the so-called 'free treatment'.

The Union Minister further added that the proposed scheme of the Delhi government can be linked with Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojna (PM-JAY) for enhanced cover for the poor and vulnerable population of Delhi as they will not get ready access to private hospitals but will also be able to get benefits across the country.

"Since you are anyway providing OPD cover through your proposed scheme, linking with PM-JAY for in-patient cover will be a boon for the poor and vulnerable population of Delhi as they will not only get ready access to private hospitals but will also be able to get benefits across the country. You can even expand PM-JAY to cover more beneficiaries as has been done by many other states," he said.

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