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105 lakh households will get free healthcare from Nov 1, as per the scheme.

 With eye on 2018 Assembly polls Karnataka launches unified health scheme Representational Image: Morgan Schmorgan via Flickr
news Health Tuesday, August 29, 2017 - 15:47

With Assembly Elections less than a year away, Karnataka government on Monday announced a new Universal Health Scheme on Monday.

State Law Minister TB Jayachandra said the government will issue Aadhaar-linked Universal Health Cards to all residents of the state from November 1, following which all existing schemes related to health will be unified under this scheme.

The seven schemes — Vajpayee Arogyasri, Yashaswini, Jyothi Sanjivini, Mukhyamantri Santhwana Harish Scheme, Janani-Shishu Suraksha Karyakram, Rajiv Arogya Bhagya, Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojan will be unified into Arogya Bhagya.

“We are calling this ‘treatment first, payment next’. We will be merging the existing seven health programmes under this umbrella. It is also expected to cut costs for us. This scheme is expected to cost the government Rs 869 crore annually as against Rs 1,022 crore that is being incurred under all the seven existing  schemes,” the minister said.

According to the minister, there will be two categories of people under the card. Category A will be a priority category, which will include farmers, deprived households, labourers from the unorganised sector, pourakarmikas, all SC/ST people, members of cooperative societies, government employees, media persons and elected representatives. The rest will fall under Category B.

This scheme will allow both category A (105 lakh households) and B patients to avail primary, secondary, tertiary and emergency care at government-owned hospitals, medical college hospitals and empanelled private hospitals for free.

However, 516 types of complicated secondary treatment will be chargeable for category B patients with 30% of the cost to be reimbursed by the state government.

Each household of category B has to pay Rs 300 per person for rural areas and Rs 700 per person for urban areas annually to avail the scheme.

This is the latest of the populist schemes introduced by CM Siddaramaiah, with an eye on the 2018 Assembly Election. In the state budget, he had introduced a slew of other popular schemes like the Namma Canteens later re-christened into Indira Canteens.

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