Remembering YSR: The Welfare Doctor Who Refined Medicare With Aarogyasri

 - Sakshi Post

Legendary politician Dr. YS Rajasekhara Reddy, with his hard work, determination, and relentless diligence, carved a niche for himself in the realm of politics. The welfare schemes introduced by him earned him unrivalled glory and helped him amass a huge fan following. He was referred to as the people's leader.

Be it Fee Reimbursement, Farm Loan Waiver, Jalayagnam, Aarogyasri, or any other scheme, the mass leader left his mark in the lives of all sections of people. Even today, most of the downtrodden and poor people yearn to see him coming back alive to help them. However, the people of Andhra Pradesh see the great leader in his son, the current chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, who has revolutionized the art of serving people with his unparalleled initiatives that are being emulated by many states and even by some countries.

YSR Aarogyasri Scheme:

One of the ambitious schemes of YSR that grabbed global attention is the 'Rajiv Aarogyasri Scheme' which was introduced with the objective of providing quality healthcare in corporate hospitals for the poor. Rajiv Aarogyasri was the brainchild of Dr. YS Rajashekara Reddy. His initiative was emulated by various other states in the country. As a doctor by profession who entered politics, YSR knew the hardships that come in the way of the common man receiving quality medical treatment.

After becoming the CM, YSR helped people with serious ailments by liberally granting funds from the CM Relief fund. But later, he decided to start a scheme that should be useful for all the poor and under-privileged classes. As a solution to the problem, YSR launched 'Aarogyasri’' in April 2007 to work towards making ‘Health for All’ a heartening reality.

YSR used to constantly conduct review meetings with the health officials to improve the standards of the scheme. He used to regularly visit hospitals to personally take the stock of the implementation of the scheme.

Under the scheme, the beneficiaries were the families below the poverty line with an annual income of Rs 2 lakh. The state government had a tie-up with private hospitals while advocating a holistic healthcare approach. The scheme was a unique PPP model in the field of health insurance and aimed at providing end-to-end cashless services for poor patients. The scheme was designed in such a way that even a poor man could walk into a corporate hospital and get quality treatment.

A high level of transparency was maintained to prevent any misuse and fraud. The patient could choose the hospital and the scheme was complementary to the facilities available in the government hospitals.

Lauded by many around the world, the scheme was subsequently neglected by subsequent governments following YSR’s tragic demise.

However, YSR’s son and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy breathed life back into the scheme. Following in the footsteps of his father, he not only re-christened the scheme as YSR Aarogyasri but even raised the bar by many notches by including several enviable features in it. The other objective of the YSR Aarogyasri scheme is to provide financial security against catastrophic health expenditures. The scheme also covers treatment costs of ailments like cancer, kidney failure, heart diseases, neurological disorders, polytrauma among others.

Under this scheme, a beneficiary will get coverage for pre-existing diseases as well. Follow-up treatment will be given for the patients after hospitalisation as well. Now, a total of 2,059 medical ailments are being covered under the scheme even as the eligibility ceiling has been raised to an annual income of up to Rs 5 lakh. YSR Aarogyasri Scheme has been extended to 150 super-specialty hospitals in Hyderabad, Chennai, and Bengaluru. A host of other features are added to the 'YSR Aarogyasri Scheme' so that every poor patient will get corporate medical treatment.

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