Modicare: Government to form council to roll out National Health Protection Scheme

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The government is likely to form a council on the lines of the GST council and work with states to roll out the National Health Protection Scheme, announced in the Budget on Thursday. The plan also includes creation of a mission for focussed implementation of the scheme.

“The plan is to form a committee on the lines of the GST council to implement the Modicare scheme because a few states also have such a plan and a way needs to be found together to gel this scheme with states, where a similar scheme is already being offered,” said a senior government source in the know, who did not want to be identified.

He added that the Gujarat government, for example, has a plan called Mukhyamantri Amrutum (MA) Yojana, which provides free insurance of up to Rs 2 lakh per year to the poor and needy.
“The committee with state representation would ensure that governments work together to ensure that one scheme does not clash with the other and rather gel with each other for effective implementation,” he said.

The GST council, which is a key decision making body on GST, is headed by the union finance minister and has minister of state for finance in the Union government as well as ministers incharge of finance or taxation or any other minister nominated by each state government as itss members.
“That mission (or anything else that it may be called) would likely be headed by a senior bureaucrat or a technocrat to ensure successful and focused implementation of the project,” said a government source.

The first source quoted above said it remains to be seen whether the government will be in a position to implement the scheme across the country before the 2019 elections.
“The implementation would start with a few states initially, where it will be implemented as a pilot. The national rollout could happen only after that,” he said.

The government, in the Budget, announced a new National Health Protection Scheme, under Ayushman Bharat plan, that will cover 100 million poor and families and 500 million people, providing each family an insurance of up to Rs 5 lakh every year in case of secondary and tertiary hospitalisation.
Finance secretary Hasmukh Adhia told ET on Friday that the government expects the mega healthcare scheme announced in the Budget to cost only aboutRs 10,000 crore annually and is expected to be rolled out in six to eight months. While the central government will contribute about half of the total cost, the rest will come from the states.


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