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Karnataka Launches Universal Health Coverage

SiddaramaiahThe Government of Karnataka has launched universal health coverage titled ‘Aarogya Karnataka Yojane’, which is aimed at providing free medical treatment to all patients regardless of their income.

The project with an estimated cost of Rs 2,000 crore, which aims to cover 1.4 crore families, will be implemented in all government hospitals from March 5.

The scheme promises free treatment up to Rs 1.5 lakh for each below poverty line (BPL) family in private hospitals every year, while the government will foot 30 per cent of  bills up to Rs 1.5 lakh in case of above poverty line (APL) families.

Launching the project, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said, “No state has implemented such a scheme. Karnataka is the first. It’s a brainchild of Minister for Health and Family Welfare of Karnataka, KR Ramesh Kumar.”

During the budget (2018-19) presentation on February 16, 2018, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had mentioned about Arogya Karnataka Yojane. He said the universal health coverage will be implemented in the entire State by the end of this year in order to make available primary and specific secondary and tertiary treatment to all people of the State.

To avail benefits, the patient has to first go to a Government hospital. Only if the required treatment is not available in the Government hospital, he or she be referred to empanelled private hospitals. Also, one has to declare that she/he is not a beneficiary of any other Government/private health insurance scheme.

State Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Ramesh Kumar said Rs 1.5 lakh is only an interim price cap. “If the bill exceeds Rs 1.5 lakh, the Government will bear the entire expenditure. But in all probability, it will not happen because the Government will soon constitute a price-fixing committee that will cap the cost of procedures. A C-section delivery in a Government hospital costs not more than Rs 4,000, but it is more than Rs 40,000 in a private hospital. The price-capping committee will look into these issues,” he said.

During the registration, a beneficiary has to give consent to share his/her Aadhaar number, name, fingerprints, iris and mobile number with the department of health. If the patient does not have Aadhaar card, then the ration card can be used as a document proof. Arogya Karnataka Yojane cards will be issued at Government hospitals from March 5 at a cost of Rs 10.

Beneficiaries: Five people from the CM’s home district of Mysuru were given Arogya Karnataka Yojane cards on Friday, March 2. RS Mahesh, Bhagymma, Mohammed Hifzulla, Jayalakshmi and R Somashekar were the beneficiaries.

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